Its been a very productive week (and a bit) as we push through some really substantial changes to the Hurtworld core.
The deeper we get into the meaty changes we are working on, the more things present themselves as something that should be completed sooner rather than later, delaying the big patch.
In the interest of giving you something to play with in the meantime, we are packaging up an update of things that don’t affect the overall balance of the game for release around the 22nd of April.
This will contain the extended construction system / explosives system (without armor and other new properties), it will also enable Steam workshop downloads of custom maps.
I’ve been seeing a lot of awesome maps being made in the map SDK over the last couple of weeks so I decided to spend a bit of time over the weekend integrating the first pass of Steam workshop.
This came together quicker than I thought and works really nicely. No command line tools or manual configuration. Just click a few buttons and your map will be live to the public.
Once this goes live, servers will be able to pick any map on workshop by its id (eg “w:663388709”) and have it automatically download on startup. Players connecting to the server will also download the map seamlessly on connection.
There is now very little work involved in extending workshop items to other things like construction prefabs, guns (in itemv2), even creatures!
We’ve had a good run with the infini wipe servers. Not long ago a server couldn’t handle 20 days without a wipe, we are now at 65 days with (for the most part) decent performance.
However with the new construction upgrades, we will need to do a full wipe of all servers. If all goes to plan, this will go live on Friday the 22nd. Save games and will be available for download for those who want to keep their epic structures in their own private server.
As mentioned last week I have been reducing poly counts across the board. I removed some poly’s from the brick windowed buildings that to be honest would not really make much of an impact to the look from street level. We decided after that to take out a lot of the floors from the buildings and put in some ‘filler’ meshes.
There are two filler meshes for each shape, they span 3 & 5 floors vertically. (as seen in the following images)
This will dramatically reduce the polycounts of the buildings to a level that will maintain our fps standard. While it would be nice to have floors on every level, this is just not possible given all our constraints. No work was wasted in this process, there are simply less floors in the buildings. There will also as with most other games be ‘blank’ buildings that have all the same outer structure of the other buildings, but no interiors except perhaps the first and second floors.
The image below illustrates another challenge I faced, which was separating the stairwells from the buildings floors. The stairwells are a single 20 storey piece that is attached to the roof of each buildings. This made it easy to create a one piece fits all scenario, which saves on adding more meshes. The walls of the stairwell, whilst not visible in these pics, are attached to the filler pieces, and so span the 3-5 storeys where you cannot access the floors.
After finishing off an art/optimization pass on the standard construction pieces. I have been working with Sean to come up with some construction assets that will hopefully give the players more freedom in regards to the functionality and look of what they wish to build.
The diagonal walls already seem to work quite nicely, as do some of the basic wall piece replacement assets like arrow slits, and shuttered windows.
Some of the construction pieces that I believe will have a big impact on the look of players bases are things like fencing/railing, building trimming, buttresses, and a shingle like tile construction system that allows the players to choose the angle of their roof! It is going to be a bit of a balancing act between giving the players a lot of flexibility with small pieces, and the need to keep polycounts reasonable.
This week I also had the added pleasure of having to reformat my pc, which always ends up being more of a hassle than I remember it being 🙁
I’ve finished up for now on explosions – they’re now much more physically based. They do things like reflect off surfaces, be blocked by things, and in general just act much more like explosions do in reality. For instance, if you’re in a hallway when an explosion goes off, and the hallway is strong enough to withstand it, you’ll actually get more damaged. But if the hallway isn’t, and is ripped apart in the explosion, more force will escape outwards and won’t be reflected at you.
I’m looking forward to tying this in to the construction revamp, with being able to build with materials that better withstand explosions, and being able to structure your base in more interesting ways to be less raidable.
I’ve also been working with Gavku to get the new structure pieces in, which also means a fair reworking of the whole system to open it up to things like modding later on. The ultimate goal is that, much like the map SDK, you will be able to create new construction items and upload them to the Workshop for use in servers and stuff. Want a server where you can build Buddhist temple style buildings? Soviet era bunkers? Medieval villages? Part of this revamp is making those things possible.
A lot of things have been touched in the last week with this revamp, including starting to redesign the UI, how attachment points work, how collisions are done, and how we sort construction attachments. We’re adding in a lot more types of attachments, like pillars, buttresses, trimming, and windows, and figuring out how to put these all together in a way that works. More on this in the next blog post.
Spencer: Dazzler isn’t in the office today, but here is a snippet of the new skoogler idle: