This week we’ve been all hands on deck getting the new construction system stable and balanced. We are pretty happy with the stability for the most part for now, thanks to everyone who submitted bug reports.
I spent the last few days digging a little deeper into C4 explosions, in real in game scenarios they were doing heaps more damage than we intended. After working on re balancing the damage I found a rather large bug in the way we apply damage to individual structure pieces that could sometimes (quite often) get the wrong attachment on a building. This could result in objects a long way from the explosion taking damage when they shouldn’t. This will be fixed in the next patch which should make explosions much more predictable.
Currently all the durability and armor stats for construction pieces are identical for different materials. This was due to the fact that material strength didn’t really correlate to cost to obtain in the current metagame (wood was the hardest to build with despite being the least durable). To avoid re-balancing gathering costs and therefore recipes of everything we put off configuration of the resistances. One thing we didn’t think of was just increasing the construction cost for the more durable materials (duh!), and as a side effect of recreating all the construction pieces we did this anyway. That allowed me to start tuning the construction piece durability to be tiered based on material.
While exploring this balance, it has become clear that placing 1 C4 to destroy a whole base isn’t much fun. What I am working towards now is nerfing the crap out of C4 explosions, and giving a massive buff to detcap drop rates. Meaning C4 will be common place, but creative uses will dictate your ability to get into a base. Now that explosion force can be reflected off other objects, tighter spaces will be key to doing maximum damage.
Lower barrier to entry on vehicles
This is the first wipe I’ve had the time to actually play a comparable amount to the rest of you to get a feel for the journey from early to late game (Due to the fact I wasn’t madly patching bugs after release). A large focus of mine being getting that roach kitted out as soon as possible. I’ve come to the conclusion that the barrier to entry on vehicles needs to be lower. While more hardcore players will likely be thinking “I can get 5 cars by day 2, its 2easy”, there is a bit more to it.
As most of you know, chassis’ and container crates spawn rate scales linearly with the number of players online at any given time. This is to stop the person who doesn’t sleep getting an entire maps worth of spawns over night, while people in the day have to fight over them. This works for the most part, however as the rates are simply based on players online, not players in the area, the first few people to get to red desert / snow towns and setup a base get an unevenly distributed portion of the spawns to themselves. For the first week of any wipe, 70%+ of the players are tottling around Valley and Fortress while a limited few are churning through 70% of the loot spawns on the map.
This effect is compounded by the fact that once you get a vehicle, town hopping to grab the loot takes 1/10th of the time. So while half the server is fighting over the 3 or so loot crates in fortress and valley on foot there are 3 or 4 people gunning around the remaining 4 towns uncontested.
I can’t think of a nice solution to cap the progression of players who progress fastest without requiring a contest over areas. This just sounds like an ungly system that people will end up gaming with alt accounts anyway so I am opting for just increasing the spawn rate of chassis’ and crates.
Along with this, in the slightly longer term, we will be adding destructibility to vehicles. For this to not suck, vehicles will need to be much easier to get otherwise the risk of crashing into a tree would stop you from driving it. Ideally some form of vehicle will be easy come easy go, and we will be adding higher tier vehicles which are much rarer for those who want to continue the loot chase.
Another thing that came to my attention this week, is that the mechanic of holding an area for control of its loot yield isn’t currently working in towns. It seems to work ok (bar infamy crapness) around the resource rich valleys in the starting areas as people fight off others from building bases nearby and harvesting their resources. It is fundamentally broken in towns.
The reason for this is the speed at which the loot re-spawns is far too slow for it to be worth holding onto a town beyond clearing it once. You do a single run, stash it and do something else for 10-20 mins before trying again. During that time 3 people probably went through and looted the one spawn that came up, end up with a boring low yield for everyone. Its never really worth shooting anyone in a town as they can likely make it back before anything respawns.
Secondary to this, the towns provide too much cover, making it easy to slip into a town while others are there, and easy to escape. No real presence. Ideally running into a town would be an announcement, that you claim this place for the next 10 mins or so, anyone else around will either need to make peace or fight for it.
My plan is that increasing the crate loot spawn, and putting some new materials in those crates that aggregate to something you need will make the end-tier loot game much more fun and combined with infamy changes make the conflicts more worth while and challenging for a reason other than being a troll.
We are starting to see some pretty awesome content coming out of the community on Steam workshop. From a whacky recreation of cs_italy to some totally new full size survival maps, even one with a city (Different to the one Mils is working on)!
We will be looking at getting some of them either featured or running on Official servers in the next week, vote for your favorites here:
Next week I am moving back on to Item V2 / Gunplay / Infamy changes described in previous blogs. Should hopefully have something workable in the next couple of weeks.
Still on construction stuff at the moment. Going through some of the new things we added and seeing what has been breaking, as well as chasing up on some of the issues people reported about since the update.
I’ve been mostly implementing new construction attachments, fixing bugs relating to the patch, and putting in some new features as well. It’s been really awesome to see all the buildings you folks have made over the last week. Some awesome stuff there!
I’ve also been working on some features that will come in very handy as we grow the construction attachment library, and for when we hopefully release a way to mod your own into the game. Part of the maintainability problem with the attachments is that there are lots of attachments that are very similar, but not quite exact. There is really nothing different about a wooden wall and a stone wall, apart from health and material. But stuff like attachment points, validation configuration, visualisation, all that data has to be maintained. This can be a bit of a nightmare with three material types. Now, construction attachments can inherit properties from another attachment. So we can have a “master wall”, and all other walls will get that information from it. This makes it much, much easier to do things like put in new material types and make quick changes to common attachment pieces.
One of the biggest pieces of feedback we’ve received is with the new Build Limit system, so I want to take some time and explain our motivations for introducing this system, and also how we’re improving it to make it a better experience for you. Build Limits are a pragmatic solution to the problem that arose in the Infiniwipe servers in the last patch. Simply put – people build BIG bases. And I’m not talking a few levels. I’m talking gargantuan, sprawling structures that were millions of polys. We had lots of players tell us that they couldn’t even join these servers on low-spec machines, let alone get a decent framerate. Build complexity is fairly straight-forward, for objects that you build with the Construction Hammer. The complexity is how many vertices they are (with a few caveats, it’s not exactly the vertice count but safe to say it has a direct correlation). So simpler construction objects will take up less of your build limit. So if you hit it – go and delete those trusses! Importantly the build limit is configurable. Ask your server to increase it if the population agrees that their graphics cards can handle it! But be aware that you may be preventing lower-spec players from playing with you.
However, we could have done better with Build Limits. Owrongs have a fairly high memory cost – something that is on our todo list to fix. It doesn’t help that people seem to enjoy planting a few thousand of them – and then that happens a few times on one server, and then everything crashes. We put owrongs into the Build Limit system with a very high cost, as a temporary solution to this. However, this has confused a lot of people and I think had them hit the Build Limit far before we intended, with quite small bases. What I’ve done this week is split the Build Limit into an arbitrary amount of categories, so there is no longer just one. Now there can be a per-cell limit for structures, machines, plants, and whatever else we need to put some cap on, but these limits don’t need to overlap. Again, all of these limits are completely configurable if you’d like to run a server with different ones. So, all of you that hit that build limit because of an Owrong farm, you’ll be getting a lot more room to breathe in the next patch.
I’ve also made the UI much more usable at lower resolutions, especially with things like chat and stat readouts. Check out this before/after comparison at 1024×768.
I’m still adding flair to the major buildings in the cities as well as working on all the new icons that went into the build system.
I wanted the structures that adorn the outside of the buildings to perform a visual role but also I wanted them to be a bit functional. You can actually run down some of the shapes that have been added to the outside of the building as seen in the following image.
I also took inspiration from the local buildings here in melbourne which use a lot of brightly coloured geometric shapes on the out4er faces of the high rise buildings.
I also made a multi use column to break up the square shape of the regular buildings.
And what city would complete without the trusty scaffold.
Will be getting back into full swing with the city now that the update is squared away.