Indeed. It will just be a whole new experience. Honestly, the fact that SO many buildings will be enterable makes Chernaus playable for me. I love the idea of going into a town, wiping out all the zombies, and essentially taking it over until more hordes of zombies come in.
A recent video of the (almost) alpha. I have to say, I am pretty impressed with their progress. The game just seems like it will be so deep. It still has a long way to go, but hey, for Alpha it's not that bad at all.
A few key/cool things to me:
1) Melee weapons. Trog and I discussed this earlier. Having a functioning melee system will be great. Now if you're in a big city and want to remain steathy you can bust out a melee weapon and still kill zombies effectively.
2) Zombie pathing. This might be the biggest thing. It was a pretty new addition and it seems to have paid off. Zombies act much smarter than how you would expect when they chase you. No crazy teleporting/jumping/weird paths. This will go a long way.
3) Just the depth of the game. It seems like it is going to be crazy deep and that is what a game like this needs. I am PUMPED for Standalone, even though I know it will still be pretty basic compared to other mods.
Honestly, it has some stuff to conquer, clearly, but it is not overly dramatic stuff. Animations, sounds, textures, etc. can all be done later.
I love the base of the game. The item interaction lets them have a HUUUUGGEEE amount of added depth later. Easy example in the video was can opener on can. They said they will use that to drive usage out of a TON of items.
Melee actually looked reasonable which is a huge boost. :) It was nice to see a measured approach to the zombies was taken. He took a hit or two in the video but sidestepping and counterattacking worked very well against one or two. When you get swarmed you'll die.
Sounds were terrible but they are just placeholders.
A couple of big things that I didn't notice until reading Reddit. There were blocking animations. They don't functionally work yet but they are implementing blocking. Oh. Mah. Gawd.
You can also change the angle of your axe swing.
Yes. Tracing is done along the length of the axe during the animation. Not all weapons do this. Most one handed weapons do it cursor based, because they just didn't work well without spacial awareness.
In reddit follow-up comments he mentioned the idea of adding larger blades or blunt objects that could hit multiple zombies in one hit or inflict "knock-down".
rocket2guns [score hidden] 2 hours ago
Finally, someone noticed the recoil!
What we also added, is an "affect skeleton" attribute, which is kind of like a faux physics system to ride us over until we have ragdoll. what it does is take the direction and strength of the impact, and then apply a force at the nearest pivot point. That means, if you hit someone on the back of the head, their head will whip forward. Not all bones currently do this, but the head, chest, and arms. More will follow later as its a very early function.
Different weapons provide different force, for example the knife provides almost no force, but guarantees bleeding occurs.
Oh, forgot to post this. Hour and a half of unedited DayZ Standalone gameplay. I AM EXCITED. Clearly still plenty of issues to overcome but hell, it isn't even alpha yet. And it sounds like they're squashing bugs like crazy as the begin to prepare to release Standalone.
There's some sound issues up until the 16 minute mark but nothing crazy happens before then.
Important note: Unless otherwise stated FPS refers to server FPS.
As most will know, we achieved quite a milestone with over 50 players on the server recently. While this is pretty normal for the mod, it's a big deal for the standalone as the architecture is entirely different and so much has been moved onto the server. So what does this mean?
DayZ handles a minimum of 15000 dynamic objects. This is a huge amount of things to synchronize, in a MP environment. We implemented an entire rewrite of how objects are managed, linked with the "network bubble". Our chosen system was to implement an R-Tree approach and we have seen some success with this. Our aim was to reduce the massive FPS burden that all these dynamic objects bought, grinding the server to a halt. The main problem appeared to be scaling, in that the more players the worse it got.
Some details about server FPS:
Not strictly "frames per second" on a client more akin to "simulation cycles"
Max is 50 FPS
Max simulation of player is 25 times per second
Max simulation of zombie is 10 times per second
That means below 10 FPS, zombie behavior could be noticeably affected.
The Good news
We are no longer player number bound. It appears the server loses about 3 FPS per 40 players. We have only tested to 52 players currently. At that time, it was our first efforts with this number and we immediately found some missed areas of optimization, so with our next mass test we expect better results. The more players we threw at the server, its FPS numbers didn't change.
The Not-so-Good news
I was initially quite surprised because we still had a very high starting frame usage. 15000 loot items were using 1 FPS, that's right - just 1! But for some reason, 1000 zombies (despite all but 10 being at rest) were using a whopping 35 FPS. It didn't make sense and we've been going through this, optimizing and looking for the reason.
The Feedback from those involved
Overall, despite the performance concerns, with the server running around 8-12 FPS when under its heaviest load, the server was "reasonably responsive". Some people experienced inventory actions being a little bit slow occasionally, but generally it seemed things went okay.
Progress since the test
Since the test, we isolated two major crashes (resulting in server soak with constant players with no stability issue, no increase in RAM, and no decrease in FPS). We also optimized some areas. We're also busy hiding some areas and functions that are incomplete, as they either break or cause problems that we don't have the time to resolve before the Alpha's release. Perhaps one of the most serious gameplay issues we have at the moment is a very long time the player spends unconscious. It causes a problem for testing, so it's something we will be fixing before the release of the alpha.
Overall, the mood on development is quite upbeat. We're all pretty tired, as it has been very late and long working days. We had a new programmer and new designer start this week, and some assistance from the ArmA3 team to prepare the creation of our own audio team. We're looking forward to getting the Alpha out into Early-Access. I think that while some might be disappointed that this is not some feature-packed, graphically focused, masterpiece - we've been focused on addressing the major architectural issues and it's represented a massive body of work over the last 12 months.
We need a little more out of the server in terms of framerate. Just a little bit more, to ensure the inventory stays reasonably responsive. The remaining time will be spent tidying up remaining issues to try and give a more solid experience when we kick into the early access.
It really is an Alpha
I really can't emphasize enough - this is going to be an early access project on steam. It's a true-blue alpha. Massive areas of the engine were entirely reworked, involving a large team of people over the last 12 months. Much of what these achievements will enable won't be seen for many months - so I really plead for anyone who is on the fence to take a skeptical approach - watch streams, read reviews, watch some let's play and form your opinion. You could always come back to the game in three, six months time and buy it then.
Buying early will be a recipe for disappointment, it's a chance for those who want to be part of that whole process. For them, the process is as much as part of the game as the whole experience. For many, this is the opposite of what they want. To enable a smooth launch, we really are targeting it at a core audience who want to get deeply involved in a very barebones experience that is a platform for future development.
Not quite there but they certainly are making headway :)
So a bit of a progress report on the day that was.
We finished yesterday hopeful but cautious, as the server FPS was just not where we needed it to be realistically. Today was a day of highs and lows. I'll try and explain the difficulty we experience right now in the optimization.
The system was never designed or conceived to run such a huge amount of dynamic entities, over 11000 currently (in addition to the 2 or 3 million static map objects). So each system we refactor, redevelop or fix we bump into the next bottleneck. I think perhaps it is not unlike fixing traffic congestion, you fix it in one area only to find you have moved it somewhere else. This is what we are doing, trying to adapt and redevelop a system designed to handle perhaps 100 dynamic objects in a local area to one that handles tens of thousands distributed over tens of kilometers.
We achieved some real success. We broke some things in the process, but nothing unworkable. As an example, we were refactoring how the "bot client" (a system that acts as a handling pot for messages sent to connected computers) handles error calculation (figuring out the difference between current and past, to see if it needs to notify clients of updates). Previously it was not only checking everything, all the time, but the engine was also checking with the bot client to see if it had received its messages. This is redundant as they are part of the same application; messages will always be received by the bot client.
However in optimizing this system (which involves the calculation of hundreds if not thousands of potentially different state management scenarios) we missed a few things, and this results in weird out of sync errors in inventory between the client and the server. Nothing that stopped many people playing, but an example of the pitfalls and challenges faced with optimizing.
Zombie pathing, collision, and tracking is "on par" with the mod for now, and in order to achieve what we want we need to redo the internal engine targeting methods to be more in line with the scripted targeting methods per the mod. This will take some time, so it's been timeboxed to be completed after the release of the alpha.
Our new programmer was straight into work, creating a sound system change that allows different footstep sounds to be played for different shoes worn. Awesome! Now if only we had the sounds to fill them in! Our big brother A3 has been loaning us people, including the A3 sound lead, to help set this function up. Some audio changes are already creeping in which is great to see and will be much appreciated for those joining into the alpha.
This puts us pretty much in the situation we need to be for server performance, assuming the remaining state calculation errors can be resolved quickly. Our new architecture can support much more, so the future will involve us tearing down the remaining bottlenecks but for now; they seem to offer a good enough structure to push forward on. This is good news. We'll be doing a full review of server performance tomorrow based on tonights metrics and make a decision regarding the server performance.
As I said yesterday, there is going to be quite a few bugs and problems - but our aim is to mainly turn off the unfinished features so that the bare-bones system largely just works. I think this gives people a good impression, rather than a bunch of unfinished stuff that simply doesn't work.
The real challenge for us now is to figure out what must be fixed versus what can be left until after alpha and redone from scratch properly.
Originally Posted by D-Unit
I have no clue what Bortles is all about. Has a funny name though. Sounds like a Pokemon.
Three hour stream of the Alpha. I was quite excited for this game but after watching and listening my hyper factor IS OVER 9000! It is just SO deep and awesome looking. All the little details are amazing.
He mentioned they will be implementing planting/farming soon too which is awesome. That was a huge thing I wanted.
No, you wouldn't be able to use a pirated version. It's essentially using MMO architecture.
However, Standalone alpha will probably be pretty cheap, like...$15-20 more than likely. Sort of like Minecraft. Not bad at all. However, if you don't like a lot of bugs/glitches but are really interested you might want to buy it in Alpha when it's cheap and then hold off playing it too much since he has encouraged people not to play who are not interested in something that is a real alpha (aka, buggy/less features).
I am excited to be part of the testing process, though.
Well, that is one of the things the creator (Dean Hall) mentions. That the Minecraft alpha was not really an alpha at all. It was more of a beta and that the notion of an alpha has changed. He's said this will be a "real alpha," in other words expect some game breaking bugs, missing features, etc. That is all part of what alphas typically entail, but the very idea of an alpha has changed as Steam early access and Minecraft had come into play.
My only suggestion would be is if you are easily frustrated by bugginess/glitches/etc. to hold off on it. If you don't mind and like seeing the game grow then I would definitely suggest it. The potential is off the charts and it just looks so deep.
ARGH I WANT IT NOW! If you watch anything of that stream just go to the two hour mark. I disliked the Chernarus map from the mod but they show off Chernogorsk and it looks SO GOD DAMN AMAZING! I can only imagine the battles that could happen in the city. Insane.