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Greetings Survivors! Apologies on missing the last Status Report - cards on the table, I knew the rest of the team had strong detailed info for you all and I didn't want to keep rehashing my sentiments on public development, or how big the move into BETA is for DayZ as a product. In the case of the last Status Report, I think the video said a lot more than anything I could type. Most of what you end up reading from me at this point in the project is related to postulation, concepts, and struggles and I'm honestly not certain that most of you are interested in that.
We're at a stage where I feel like so many people out there are just holding their breath, waiting to get their hands on the first BETA builds and see for themselves how big the change is. Hell, I think I'm right there with you all on that.
Back in the summer of 2013 when Dean, Matt, and I were stuck in a tiny room above a laundry room out in Mnisek, we were whiteboarding key elements we thought DayZ should improve on the gameplay of the mod (beyond the obvious). A good deal of what was prototyped over 2014, and 2015 came from those whiteboard meetings.
I remember very clearly sitting down with Dean thinking on how we could improve the fresh spawned players chances to survive without basic weapons, as the desire was to make DayZ an experience similar to the novel "The Road" - which is where "punching" came in to play. (I distinctly remember Dean asking me if I thought it would make fresh spawns even more of a threat, and thus have a higher mortality rate when encountering skittish geared players - clearly I was wrong in dismissing this).
I'm rambling, but the point I'm trying to make is there is so much that the team, myself, Peter, have worked on throughout the years that just couldn't be done within the limitations that RV offered us - and it killed me to know time and time again that after documenting, and prototyping portions of the key design of what DayZ is to be that we were time and time again limited by the technology that DayZ originally steam with.
I can't emphasize enough to you all how insanely fortunate DayZ, and the DayZ dev team have been to have a company behind us that believes in the vision we set forth at the start of development to reach. So many titles I've worked on, or along side the development of have just had core mechanics, and feature sets lopped off with a hatchet in order to reach a set shelf date - never to reach their original full vision. It might be irritating to some out there in the user base, but the fact that we haven't had to sacrifice any of the core gameplay features yet is massive.
That said, one of the things Dean and I used to stress early on was that DayZ was not just a platform for people to create their own stories - but that like so many Bohemia titles before it, it is a platform for people to create their own vision of the apocalypse (or anything else that strikes their fancy).
This specific pillar of DayZ is one of many that will benefit massively from all the work that the engineering team has worked so hard on over the last few years. Ditching SQF alone is a massive step for any of you that have dabbled in modding the Arma titles, and the new animation system, as well as all the work the design team has done to new user actions takes the modding opportunities from what (to me) would feel like more of the same, modding Arma 2 or Arma 3 to a completely new level.
I could go on for hours about all the possibilities I see there, and all the fantastic mod authors I hope to see get their hands on it, and bring their own vision to DayZ. Namalsk, DayZ 2017, Taviana, Panthera, DayZero, and so much more. Part of some of the most exciting times as a fan of the DayZ Mod was when we began to see people create mods of the mod itself, and I genuinely feel that what DayZ will offer to the talent of those individuals is so far beyond what was possible before.
No, I don't have a set date for you for modding - but as it has been said in many status reports before - it will happen during our BETA phase of development. Obviously, for those that missed the announcement this will have to mean the release of the server tool package.
I just hope I get enough notice to stock up on snack food for when the first mods start hitting DayZ, because you can bet your ass I'm going to be losing countless hours of sleep exploring these new takes on DayZ as a player and not a developer.
- Brian Hicks / Creative Director
Dear survivors, since there is no concise information on what BETA is and what exactly will happen near its release, I would like to focus on recapping what our current plans regarding these things are.
You might have seen our Gamescom video, but there is more to come and lot more things to work on. Because the 0.63 update is bringing all the new technology to you, the players, there will be a very tight feedback loop following its release to Experimental. There will be numerous changes coming in over the course of 0.63 Experimental, and some features might not be available on the first Experimental release, as we slowly ramp up to keep the performance and bug fixing focused.
There will be tons of players trying to get in, and we will try and accommodate as many players as possible, because I do strongly believe it will be very hard to go back to 0.62 after this huge change happens.
Now once that goes through all of the parts that need proper testing, and you are happy with the stability of the experience, we will start preparing for the Stable launch of 0.63 - the DayZ BETA. At that point in time, it is our intention to make DayZ server files available to anyone for free on Steam, meaning that you will be able to host your own servers. As far as platforms go, we aim to have these for both Linux and Windows.
Following that, I know a lot of people will start digging into the data itself and have fun modifying it. It's going to be interesting to see what you guys come up with. However, you might be a bit limited during the initial release, as the current state of things suggests that the modding toolset might be behind schedule, and will be released shortly after BETA comes online. The toolset will be running the new Enfusion tools that you might have seen on different pictures from the office, and will again be available to all our players.
But since lot of the data is compatible in some way, I think a lot of models will find their way into the game quickly, and people will start researching the new script as they test it out. Since almost everything you see in game will be written in script, you will have some amazing opportunities to change and bend the game in any way you want.
Together with the DayZ server release, we want to provide our back-end technology that we internally call the Srvlet. This is basically our hive implementation in its entirety. With this strong tool, you will be able to set up your own hive, and do anything you might have ever imagined with your servers. Because this is actually quite complex, our intention is to provide decent documentation for the technologies recommended to run this platform.
After the toolset gets out, we will look into opening the workshop on Steam, so that you guys can start sharing your creations freely. It's something we are especially excited about!
There is more to it of course, like having a DayZ Launcher as a central piece to access all that, and I will try and space out this information and go into more detail as we get closer. With what features we exactly have in mind, what content you should expect and how these things will be handled.
Hopefully this has helped you to understand how serious we are about this important milestone in DayZ development.
- Eugen Harton / Lead Producer
Alongside crucial improvements which affect core parts of DayZ such as movement, ranged or melee combat we often mentioned, there is also other parts which are very important for delivering the best overall experience.
You could already see the dynamic target selection in one of the previous Status Reports, and some of you could try it out in action with showcase of DEMO build at Gamescom. For me, together with whole HUD and new user actions, it’s an important part of the game which underlines all these great changes which separate old (0.62 and previous versions) and new DayZ (upcoming 0.63 AKA Beta).
From our internal playtests and feedback from players at Gamescom, we decided to improve the HUD part of dynamic target selection and user actions a bit further. Now there is more options related to user actions, usually performed on some kind of target in world, shown directly in the floating widget of dynamic target selection, which makes it more readable for the player. These were previously located in bottom left corner, and they were quite easily overlooked when they became possible to perform (remember new user actions are contextual). In bottom left corner, there are now only actions which are applied directly to your character for now.
Another improvement to the bottom left corner of HUD that we've currently made is the addition of item in hands. Its name, actual condition and its quantity or stack is now shown in the bottom left too, above actions. This offers constantly consistent overview of information related to equipped item and items around the character without the need to over-use inventory screen to find out such basic info.
While shuffling parts of HUD around, we ended with dynamic cross hair, also. It changes form contextually when needed, to indicate some possibilities or states. Good example is a time progression of currently performed continuous action. Of course, HUD visuals are nowhere near final by any means. For those players who want to be immersed as much as possible in the world of DayZ, there is an option to turn off HUD completely on demand (of course independently from quick-bar).
To mention melee combat as well, its state is very rough and basically still in a state of prototype. We wanted to proof the concept out with new system of targeting and full body attack animations which are locking character movement, alongside with hit impacts which can take controls of character completely. Now when we've laid the basics and seen the potential it has, it is the way to go for us, unless something unexpected happens.
As we definitely want to add some player skill to melee combat, we need to extend it with possibilities. Currently we are prototyping blocks, which reduce received damaged and influence hit impacts from attack, as well as evades, which helps to get out from line of attack. Next up is adding melee attacks with ranged weapons, like stabbing with bayonets, hitting with butt stock or pistol whips, as there is no worse feeling of helplessness when you are armed and someone successfully locks you into series of impacts and you need to throw gun down to be able to fight.
Planned next are advanced moves such as knock-downs, finishing attacks on opponent on the ground or kicks/pushes. Anyway it’s really important for us to make solid foundation first because without it, melee combat won’t work as a whole, and it won’t matter how much depth and added layers will be there.
As far as new camera implementation I mentioned in last Status Report goes, it’s from great part done. We just need to promote some functionality to the script, so we can set specific FOV in iron sights and optics. Also we will be able to start toying with naked eye zoom again. Apart from that we are dealing with 3PP camera position in space in different modes like raised, melee combat or sprint.
With form following function... see you in Chernarus folks!
- Peter Nespesny / Lead Designer
Some time has passed since I last wrote my Status Report. One of the reasons is that we're now working on longer term tasks and it's quite hard to write a Status Report without repeating myself. Another reason is that we're mostly working on things which aren't immediately visible. Today, I will summarise what we have done over the last two months.
During August, major part of the team worked on delivering features that ended up being part of the DEMO version for Gamescom. It was quite stressful, because time was passing very fast and we had to stabilise the DEMO build and fix the most visible issues. Anyway, I believe that we were successful and we could return to our unfinished work with a good feeling of accomplishment.
Now, we are mostly focused on improving character's movement and combat mechanics, because the entire development team is still not very satisfied with what we have presented at Gamescom. This is a very important part of the DayZ experience and we want to have the best possible implementation before we hit BETA. It's also important for fighting against the infected, because it's almost impossible to tweak and polish AI behaviour without having the player movement finalised - and so this is the reason why work on AI is also a bit on hold for now.
One of the major things which were in progress before Gamescom is the game entity hierarchy (which is how the scene is represented for the game - so it is a system you won't be able to see). DayZ has been using an Arma legacy "proxy object hierarchy" - and this technology was limiting us to do some of the more exciting stuff from the DayZ feature list.
We decided to switch this scene representation technology to the new one provided by our in-house Enfusion Engine. This will allow us to do things better and in a more optimised manner, allowing us to add more visual effects easily and for example create much better animations for weapons handling.
Another thing we're now working on is the re-implementation of vehicles using the new systems. I have to admit that we're still working mostly on the physics part, and the character part is still not ready - but we hope that we will start working on character representation in vehicles soon (probably right after movement and combat mechanics).
The entire system around vehicles has changed a lot. They are now composed of several configurable components, we're supporting generic number of axes (not only two like in 0.62 and before), handling is much more responsive and vehicles have a new suspension model, which will help players driver over smaller obstacles. Things which still are not finished are better tires friction model and simulation of some gearbox extreme limits.
I wasn't sure if I should show you the following teaser (like I said, the character representation in vehicles isn't ready yet), but here it is. This is how we're testing vehicle physics for now - please welcome Fred Flintstone as a DayZ survivor, testing the new suspension system:
(Please note: these are not final values for suspension and current values are serving for demonstration of new suspension model)
Also, there are things which I would like to write about the topic of modding and what we are doing for supporting this feature, but it would be a lot of text for now, so I will write about it in next status reports (at least I'll have some ammunition for next time!).
- Miroslav Maněna / Lead Gameplay Progammer
Hello survivors! As I shared in the last Status Report, creating videos of a game in development is not always an easy task for us. It takes a lot of time from our regular schedules, and the closer we are to major releases of DayZ, the less time we have for recording gameplay. After experiencing the production of the 0.63 Dev Log, evaluating our options, and looking at the upcoming BETA/1.0 releases, we've made the decision that now is the right time to invest into our video production some more.
Just yesterday, we've put up a job opening for what we at Bohemia call a Game Capture Artist. Ultimately, we're looking for a content creator that will work alongside me, Baty and Eugen, and spend most of his/her time capturing DayZ gameplay, as well as coming up with concepts of DayZ videos (and, eventually, trailers).
It's a job that provides a perfect opportunity for making the hire directly from our community of players and content creators, and we'd be the happiest people on Earth to actually hire a DayZ fan, so please do apply if the job ad sounds like something you'd like to do for a living!
I'll just add a personal warning: don't be misguided into thinking that this job is just playing 0.63 all day! It's also a lot of planning and documentation, and you really need to understand the technical aspects of video production as well.
That said, we don't need years of professional experience, but a creative, organised and communicative person who's going to drive our video production to a very high standard. We also need you to work directly with us in Prague or Bratislava, but Bohemia Interactive will help you relocate should you feel a bit on the edge about that!
Send them CVs in - and come live closer to the real Chernarus!
- Martin Čulák / Brand Manager
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