I’ve been a bit slack on the dev blog recently due to the flu running through our team over the last few weeks. We’ve still been cooking up some kickass stuff for you guys.
Next Wipe Patch – 28th of June
Splatt has been pottering away on a new map for quite a while now. Map design is the single hardest thing we do, and I think the most important element in an open world game. We stumble across winning formulas here and there, try to improve on them and somehow lose the magic. This makes the process very time consuming. Internally we’ve been through at least 10 scrap it and start again iterations on our main map, and I think we are starting to understand what works and what doesn’t. We have also spent an enormous amount of dev effort building a set of map tools that allow us to iterate quicker. A new kickass map is the missing link to us finally pushing out ItemV2 to the core branch, I think we are close!
The next patch will if everything goes to plan, will feature this new map Nullius (Yes we used that name once before for a build or 2 but never stuck around, I’m bringing it back)
I’ve dropped what I’m doing to work with Splatt on bringing the final parts of the map to life.
The Recurve Bow now has a mask for you all to use and colour to your hearts desire. I did a lot of testing with designs on the bow and found that this was going to be a difficult task. Due to the vastly varying normal map details of rough bark and smooth wood to painted fibreglass, for now we are just going to have the Section 8 type mask. This came out nice though and should be in the next patch.
I previously said we were going to work on the shotgun next, but turns out we want to add an old favourite back into the mix. We will be bringing back the ‘Scout’ rifle which is going to work a lot like the old bolt action rifle. We want this to be accessible somewhere early to mid game and should be a fun addition to the arsenal.
Before I get onto the Scout rifle I am making a proper asset for the vehicle airdrop marker. We previously were using a kind of robot chicken placeholder which I have been begging that we change for weeks. That should be done early this week and onto the Scout after that.
Hello, so after many iterations the over all design used in the new start biome has been agreed on, still a couple of really small things to fix up. I added in a bit more trees and made them shorter so they weren’t over powering the mountains behind as well as toning down the bush size and density so you can actually see around you. The ground undulation has been toned down a lot to make open spaces better for building, I ended up finding out the best way to add a sort of bowl shape to open spaces while also keeping the base ground undulation, so that will add a nice feeling to certain areas. I’m currently in the process of fleshing out the other biomes, at first I tried to quickly figure out something I could do for the Dunes but ended up moving on to get more important things done. The best way I’ve found for laying out all this stuff now that we’ve got some form of base rules down is actually using a top down view of the map in Photoshop with cut outs of the mountains and measurements for the open spaces, this allows me to quickly figure out the whole layout without dealing with the stamping process which can cause things to grind to a halt sometimes.
This blog I’ll be talking about working on 0.5.8.0/0.5.8.1 plus my short term plans for what I’m working on next.
This patch contained a large overhaul to how we handle vehicle persistence, allowing players to respawn destroyed owned vehicles and also allowing them to self destruct their own vehicles in the case of them being stolen (so they will then be available to respawn back under the owners control).
We’ve currently set this timer to 45 mins as we still want there to be value in stealing players cars, this should give a decent amount of time for the thief to go off on their own mission using the vehicle without having to be concerned about losing it. Additionally a percentage of the vehicles respawn cost (% cost of the beacon) is dropped by an owned vehicle when it is destroyed or disassembled giving the thief an extra bonus.
0.5.8.0 also added vehicle chassis farming back into the world, chassis have a very small chance to spawn with parts that can be scavenged without tools. Chassis can also be harvested with the vehicle disassembly wrench in which they have a much greater chance of dropping parts (still relatively small though).
We’ve also added scrap back into the item mix as a sort of vehicle currency, every chassis will drop a small amount of scrap on disassembly plus spare vehicle parts can be recycled into scrap through the right click menu.
With 100 scrap you can purchase a new kind of fragment for vehicle engines that has a chance of adding extra upgrade points to the item but if it fails the item is destroyed opening up a new, risky, long-term progression option.
On Friday I pushed out a hotfix patch to fix an issue with vehicle mask synchronization. Vehicle masks are supposed to be applied to the chassis item directly and then the mask is synced into all other compatible attachments on the vehicle.
In 0.5.8.0 this mask propagation wasn’t running on the server making the client side version of the item desynced from the authoritative server version. If two mesh attachments share the same mask + other texture map assignments then they can be combined together into the same submesh and rendered with one draw call per rendering pass of the shader. When attachments share the other texture maps we assume the mask assignment is also shared, this desync bug was then violating that assumption causing the mesh baker to lock up and error out. Luckily I think we were able to fix this up before many players got deep into vehicle customisation.
Long term I would like to remove this mask sharing assumption and open the system up so we can support attachments with individual mask assignments, short term however I don’t think this is an essential feature so I would prefer to wait until I do the next pass on customisation so we can look at adding things like custom specular and emissive colors at the same time.
Unfortunately 0.5.8.1 also broke the loot frenzy event loot markers, we will have another hotfix patch to fix this issue very soon.
The vehicle insurance changes took me longer than anticipated to get through and I never really got to give the vehicles the handling overhaul I wanted to. While I was able to tweak some basic stuff to make the vehicles more responsive through increased traction and also making them harder to crash I was hoping to go more in depth, reducing the influence of weight on vehicle handling and reducing the potential range of handling stats instead trying to focus on a tighter acceptable range to give a more consistent experience.
After making those changes then we’ll be ready to bring the Slug back with a more fleshed out role then move onto the Mozzy helicopter (no, we haven’t forgotten or cancelled it!)