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The Weekly Dead: Episode 4

Hello Survivors!
This week at Sandswept, we’re focusing on the finer details, and screenshots! In fact, we’re just gonna throw a bunch of screenshots at you.

Road Progression
While Richard has hit the road (literally) for a few days, he’s completed and fixed a few road specifics and left us to fend for ourselves. Kidding… sort of. He’ll be back, don’t panic!

Road splines are done! You can expect roads to connect all over the place in Build 14, to and from, and cross country. A lot more intersections and road angles as well as a variety of dirt roads are in the works.

The ability to chop down trees will be returning to Build 14. You didn’t think we’d leave that out, did you?

Tree Ambient Occlusion
A few of you have asked about ambient occlusion specifics. Here’s a more in depth look at our AO mapping.

Ambient occlusion is where objects in a scene make it darker around the object. For example under a tree there is the shadow, but in addition the sky is blocked out so it is darker. This is more obvious on a cloudy day. In The Dead Linger we generate spots of various sizes where trees are to get this effect.

Trees from a distance can be seen with dark areas under them.

Up close the effect is more dramatic.

The Farm Life
Chaoss has been up to some things, including a new silo.
To the right is the older silo. The new one makes it look like a boring tube of nothing.

In previous builds, the silo would look like the one to the right from a distance.

After an LOD overhaul, the difference speaks for itself. Can you guess which is the distanced LOD?

Spooky silo innards.. Dark Souls 2 vibes anyone?

Props such as ladders and haybales will also be introduced with the silo.

Sky’s the Limit
A couple of improvements are underway on our sky system.
The moon shader has been updated to improve brightness. The moon and stars shine brighter on a clear night.

Concepts, Renders, and ‘Things’
We have a few things in the works! Such as hunting posts!

Dane is working on some pieces of riot gear.

Parker drew up some more soldier variations.

And here’s a little something in the works.

Also, be on the lookout for a video series to be released soon by Geoff and I (Jenny). Where we discuss everything there is to know about The Dead Linger and Procedural Generation!

That about covers everything for this week. Oh and, Build 14 should be out by this month!

Linger on, Survivors!

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The Weekly Dead: Episode 3

Hello Survivors!

This week at Sandswept, we’re paving the way to Build 14, literally. You may have seen us tweet the screenshot below, and no, it’s not an illusion, roads are happening! Brace yourselves.

All Roads Lead To…
Richard has been up to quite a lot this week: Roads between towns. The basic code is in place to connect towns, farms, and suburbans together with linking roads.

Let that sink in for a moment.

If two towns are adjacent it finds the two nearest road segments between the two towns and places a road between them.

With great new roads comes great new curved roads and intersections……wait… anyway, moving along!

Road Texture Variations…and Corn
Chaoss has been working on just about enough things to raise even more suspicion on his robotic tendencies. He’s got a variety of road edges and dirt tracks in the works, as well as corn, lots and lots of corn.

Corn has been specially designed for infinite sized cornfield rendering. Delicious.

Speaking of corn and dirt….for those wondering about the barn screenshot we showed you last week (link) and why it was sitting inside a square. It was only a temporary block till the ground textures were in place. Not to worry!

We know you guys miss the old barn, but we think you’ll forget it entirely once you have the chance to explore this bad boy. Although it is ‘game-ready’, a lot MORE details and props will be added later on.

Concepts, Renders, and ‘Things’
Parker drew up some more soldier variations this week! These guys look absolutely terrifying.

Except this guy, he looks like we can outrun him.

Dane’s shoes are looking rather stylish! If you’re into that hiking and survival kind of thing.

Jeff is working on something, but we can’t tell you what it is yet.

Dev Quotes
Here are a couple dev quotes from last week answering a few common questions.

Why not just have two distinct barns now? There was nothing wrong with the first barn, might as well make variety.

Zag: The old barn has some performance issues. It was created by Jeff, who doesn’t normally do environment props (he’s now back on stuff he’s way better at, like weapons, smaller props, and a … well, something with wheels.)

Because of that, Chaoss is taking it upon himself to redo some of the older environment assets that were created before he joined our team. This means better performance, better LODs (you’ll notice the current barn basically turns into a block of clay at a distance) and all around better gameplay experience. The entire interior is reworked and improved as well. You guys are gonna love the new barn. Unfortunately, it did lose the flat portion of the rooftop in the redesign — mainly just an artistic choice.

We do have more barn variants in the works, but this specific one is a replacement for the existing model. You can see the difference in just the texture and ambient occlusion alone. (Original Post)

So it said that you guys wanted to push out build 14 “soon” could we possibly expect some news within the next 2-3 weeks? Also if you can’t tell us that, maybe could you tell us what remaining loose ends you wanna tie up? Any more large functionality or just debug and tweaking or what?

Zag: Can’t give you an ETA, but sure, here’s some of the stuff we’re still looking at doing before we ship 14;
- Bike issues on world refresh
- Country roads using splines (similar to the base foundation for laying out rivers)
- A couple new forest zone types (easy, art is all done)
- More on zombie building pathfinding
- Blood particle effects
- Ensure graphics settings are tied to all the new graphical changes
- Some gameplay tweaks
- Tying up and polishing all the loose ends on these features (Original Post)

That about wraps up this week!

Linger on, Survivors!

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The Weekly Dead: Episode 2

Hello Survivors!

It’s been a pretty exciting week here at Sandswept! With Friday finally upon us, we bring you the latest development stuff we’ve been working on. This week’s blog is short and sweet, but we promise you’ll enjoy the ‘Eye Candy’!

Ambient Occlusion

We’ve given trees, grass and terrain some ambient occlusion! This technique will give forests ‘depth’ and a better sense of realism.

Terrain and Trees
Far trees are done and ready for Build 14! Richard’s been forging out the code on better terrain leveling and road variations of suburbia and towns.

Barn 2.0 Details
Barn 2.0 is just about ready! Chaoss added the finishing details this week, texturing and all. All that’s left is ambient occlusion and lighting.

Renders, Concepts and Stuff
Dane made some shoes!

Parker drew up some concepts of a military guy. More about him will be revealed soon! 
Jay made some animations for various weapon types including his favorite gun, the Tundra Hawk.

play animationstop animation

Axe Idleimage
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Fire Axe Heavy Swingimage
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Tundra Hawk Idleimage
play animationstop animation

Tundra Hawk ADSimage
play animationstop animation

That’s everything for this week! We’re very eager to get this build out to you guys soon, and we want to make sure everything is functional and looking great.

Linger on, Survivors!

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The Weekly Dead: Episode 1

Hello Survivors!

Jenny here! Welcome to the first of weekly blogs we’ll be dropping every Friday! Here you can see and read about development progress as well as other happenings. This week at Sandswept we’ve been pretty hard at work on Build 14. We know you guys are pretty excited for it’s release, so we’d like to keep you up to date on things.

First Things First: Level of Detail
A lot of you have been asking about the LOD (Level of Detail) system. Basically, as scenes get larger, performance becomes a big consideration. Richard has been removing far objects to keep the memory, draw and physics as low as possible. The objects aren’t completely gone, don’t panic! Their mesh levels are slightly different depending on how far they are. That allows that insane amount of trees we talked about, 80,000 of them to be exact. LOD ALL THE THINGS!

Grass and Tree Adjustments
Chaoss has been up to quite a bit this week! In fact, we think he may be a robot.
Grass now reacts to local light sources such as flashlights or campfires.

The jet black grass is no longer a thing when using a flashlight. That’s been corrected.

Trees look darker on an overcast day and don’t switch about when fully overcast. The red light symbols you’re seeing are showing how light is casted on grass, trees and other objects.

The road shader is complete and water puddles and reflection are in!

Barn 2.0
This thing is pretty big, and there’s a lot more to explore inside.

There are plenty of dark corners and spots that can’t be seen from entry points, allowing you to be as sneaky as possible.

Secret Military Things
Jeff is working on some highly TOP SECRET stuff. But we still wanted to show you!

Kickstarter Backpack
Dane has a little something for the awesome survivors who backed $50 or more during our Kickstarter. Textures, wear and tear have been added to this beast.

Jay is hammering away at animations. Quite a few at that.
One-handed side swing
Fire axe (idle and heavy swing)
Two-handed light swing

Parker has a group of great looking survivors for us!

The main menu is being redone! Tom’s got a bit of a teaser of what it’ll look like.

Other Happenings

IndieCade 2014
The IndieCade Festival is a pretty big event happening in Los Angeles, CA in October and we’ve submitted TDL for a chance to be showcased! There’s also a chance that finalists will be sent to their booth at E3 as well, which is happening in a couple of weeks. Hopefully they love zombies as much as we do.

The Dead Linger is now ours on Instagram! We had to get in contact with IG to get it back. Thankfully it was a fairly simple process. If you were following the old account, that wasn’t us and we apologize! Give us a follow for development-gram goodness.

That about wraps up this week!

Linger on, Survivors!

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Minimum System Requirements (Alpha)

Hello Survivors!
The minimum system requirements have changed just a bit! These may be updated and changed before release, and we will inform you via our twitter when they do. You will also find them listed on the pre-order page.

Minimum PC requirements for Alpha Release:
OS: Windows XP / Vista / 7
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E6000 series or equivalent AMD AthlonX2 processor
Memory: 6 GB RAM
Graphics: GeForce 8000 series or higher, ATI Radeon HD2000 series or higher. (512 MB or higher)
Hard Drive: 6 GB available space

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