Heya folks. This week I’ve been refining the map, trying to address some of the issues I spoke about last week. To save you going back and reading, the biggest issue is navigability and giving players landmarks to be able to place themselves. It’s a bit of a time consuming process to create these little landmarks but it’s lots of fun. You may have seen a few already in the map, including a few radio towers, little rock formations, small buildings with some loot, and more. There will be plenty more of these to come, as I think they’re really important in making the map feel alive and interesting. I also added a secondary tier of roads that branch off the main road, and a few stretches of fence-poles and powerlines. These linear map elements do a great job of orienting yourself, I found. You can come across a trail and follow it, and be pretty sure you’re going somewhere interesting.
This coming week I’ll be looking into integrating Splatt’s new biome into the map, and continuing to add features and landmarks. I have loads of ideas of what landmarks I want to do, and it’s just going to be a case of what we can do quickly and with the assets and time that we have.
Something else we’re going to have a go with is changing how resource hotspots work, to be a bit more explicit. Currently there are valleys where resources are found more often, which we call hotspots. You can tell you’re in one of these because you get the No Building effect, but it’s kind of amorphous and unclear. Instead of having blobby increased areas of resources, we’re going to put distinct features in valleys that denote that in that small area, you’ll find a bunch of a certain type of resource. For instance, the area below would be of a flint area, where a few flint nodes would spawn. Looking forward to seeing how this will affect farming and contesting resources.
I made a skin for the AWM last week, it actually has 3 colours, one major and two minor flourishes. This will be a nice simple skin people can use to colour their AWM like the standard weapon. We wanted the default colour to have that green that the real gun has. I’ll jump back on the colour masks when the other parts are complete. Speaking of which, I started working on another Stock for the AWM. This is going well, I hope to complete it this week. I am also working on a new road texture for the main roads that run throughout the game. Lastly I’m working on a texture for the offroad tracks that we now connect to the main roads. This will help players find their way back to the main road, which will in turn help them make their way through the biomes.
This week I’ve been working on the 0.4.3.1 and 0.4.3.2 hotfix patches. As well as some changes I mentioned last week, this included:
- Vehicle disassembly and spear flipping not working due to some missing colliders
- Fixed scale of some world items
- Configuring new workbench visuals
- Configured new improvised bow and longbow visuals
- Fixing incorrect low LOD on bor AI
- Setup new arrow recipes for each workbench tier
- Fixed some missing materials on roach attachments
- Made rancid steak once again stackable
As well as these fixes I improved the character customisation system so it will store your customisation options. These options get saved as part of your server identity so you can have different looks saved to different servers. The last customisation options you played with are also saved locally onto your computer, if the server doesn’t have your identity saved (eg. first time on server or a fresh wipe) then it will try and apply your last saved options. I say try because these customisation options can be different from server to server based on the mod configuration they are running. If the options cannot be applied they are clamped to the closest possible valid configuration (internally the customisation options are saved as array indicies).
This coming week I’ll be working on the upcoming 0.4.4.0 patch due to release on the 25th of August (more about this one next week) as well as continuing on with bug fixes, today I’ve fixed a bug where our mesh baker would occasionally double up sets of gear as well as fixing an exploit with the construction hammer.
I hope to release these fixes in another minor patch this week.
Took the test biome I’ve been working on to the next level and worked out some real environmental rules to make it feel more realistic, which is something we discussed a lot, things like making sure the peaks and valleys make sense based on how the erosion would have happened in the real world, these sorts of rules are very important for creating biomes that don’t feel weird and out of place. While I’m still having a bit of trouble with the correct scaling of the world the biome is really starting to come together and genuinely feels fun and interesting to run around in. The next step is taking the assets and using the environmental constraints to generate good looking maps, hand crafting every single peak and valley would be extremely time consuming and in my opinion still wouldn’t look as good as a procedural terrain bound to rules set by the specific biome it’s trying to replicate. I would very much like to do a pass on all the biomes currently in game and see if I can add a little more life to them using the knowledge I’ve gained creating this biome.
Last week for me was spent on authoring content creatures, resources and loot for Fridays patch as well as bug fixes. Today I’ve been getting started on creating generation templates for Splatt’s new forest.
This biome is very different from the other biomes so far in that it isn’t massively dependant on rocks and has much more open spaces. It looks amazing right now, the challenge is to make it fit into the game well.
The first step to building a generator for the map was attempting to write a map magic template that can handle all the nature and terrain parts. This got us a bit of the way there with painting valleys and trees and a basic heightmap:
The main struggule here was to create the heightmap with good enough erosion not to need rocks to mask the sides of the hills. MapMagic is great but lacks the power for terrain generation of dedicated tools. After going through a few different ones I’ve settled on World Machine which kicks ass for anything heightmap generation related.
After a few hours of tinkering I’m pretty happy with this generation formula for the first cut of our new biome:
World machine doesn’t integrate directly with Unity, however it can export high resolution heightmap images, which MapMagic can import with ease. We can then run procedural tree planting and splat painting as if the heightmap was generated by MapMagic itself.
Another kickass feature of World Machine is its ability to export flow maps (which basically shows the path sediment was moved down during erosion), they can also be used as inputs for procedural texturing, planting, and opening gates to hell(they look awesomely creepy)
I got to play a heap of the latest patch over the weekend. Was great to murder a few of you on EU West!
I’m really happy with our progress over the last couple weeks, but obviously there is a heap of stuff we can improve on:
Next experimental wipe will be on the 25th, and will likely include another big update to Mangatang along with some other stuff we will go through in next weeks blog.