0.7.0 EXPERIMENTAL BUILD IS NOW LIVE ON STEAM

WELCOME TO DEAD MATTER CLOSED ALPHA 0.7.0 EXPERIMENTAL!

Our Lead Developer has prepared the following statement which we encourage all of our backers to read as we want to make sure our backers know what they are getting into when they are playing this experimental build. We’ve included a section on how to opt-in to the Experimental Build for 0.7.0.

HOW TO OPT IN TO THE EXPERIMENTAL BUILD

  1. Open Steam and login to your account.
  1. Right click on Dead Matter and then click on “Properties…”
  1. You will then need to navigate to “Betas” from the list on the left hand side.
  1. Once you are in the “Betas” tab you will see a box titled “Select the beta you would like to opt into:”
  1. Select “0.7.0-experimtnal - Closed Alpha 0.7.0 Experimental Build”
  1. You will need to wait for the game to update.
  1. Once the game has been updated, boot it up as you normally would and you should be good to go.

STATEMENT FROM THE LEAD DEVELOPER

Dead Matter 0.7.0 is a major update, however this experimental build is not 0.7.0, it is only an experimental preview build. If you are only interested in playing a polished version of what we've spent the past year working on then this will not be a build that you will enjoy playing.

This experimental build is generally meant to serve as a living preview of what 0.7.0 will be bringing to the table, however there are still a lot of missing features, bugs, issues with performance as well as a variety of features that have yet to be recreated or fully implemented.

To give a background of what 0.7.0 is, we started the entire project over from scratch in March of this year. We made the difficult decision to hit the reset button because we needed a stable foundation for the future and we felt that 0.6.0 represented not only a barrier to future progress with hitching issues we spent months trying to pin down with limited success but also a departure from the original vision for the project.

While some code elements, UI elements and 3d art assets have been ported from the previous iteration of the game 0.7.0 is a major overhaul with more than 60% of the codebase being entirely rewritten.

We have mainly been focusing a lot of our time on building a strong technical foundation. We do not feel that we have a strong foundation for gameplay yet, we consider the 0.7.0 experimental launch to be the first build that we can comfortably start iterating on our core gameplay systems with the assistance of our backers. This is part of the reason why we are launching this experimental build so early, it is so we can set expectations and involve our community in the iterative process.

Current Features that exist in 0.7.0 but cannot be accessed through the current build are as follows.

  • Character Creation has been disabled for the time being.
  • Tasks given to players via a non-player character are technically supported but we are still working on a lot of the content required to make tasks fulfilling.
  • Crafting currently does not have any recipes setup.
  • Advanced Medical such as bleeding, deep wounds, etc. are currently disabled.
  • Aircraft currently do not spawn in the world.
  • Advanced vehicle spawning does not function, however we have manually placed some vehicles in the world.
  • Human NPCs, traders, bandits, etc. currently do not spawn in the world.
  • Realtime Item Icon rendering was eaten by our source control and should see a return via a patch.

Features that currently do not exist in 0.7.0 but we plan on introducing them in the near future include but are certainly not limited to the following:

  • Vehicle mechanics for refueling, repairing various parts, etc.
  • Map items
  • Claiming
  • Camping
  • Base Building have yet to be implemented.
  • Advanced crafting mechanics
  • Cooking
  • Harvesting items from the world
  • Female Characters
  • Multiplayer
  • Loot Spawns no longer slowly reveal items one at a time
  • Audio in general is currently lacking as we are switching from the UE4 sound engine to Wwise
  • Weather effects have been disabled for the time being and will resurface once we correct all of the issues with the related shading effects.
  • Faction and reputation mechanics
  • Streamer QOL features for giving content creators the ability to broadcast without compromising their experiences.
  • Player grouping systems.
  • Advanced player spawns where you can select a respawn point based off of what you've discovered.

While there are missing features and while there are things we wished that we had more time to focus on, here's a running list of all of the things that have changed in 0.7.0. Please note that some of the features in this list may be waiting on some content for their final implementation or they are systems that our level designers have not had the time to work with.

  • Interior Lighting has been completely overhauled with a new system that was custom built for our version of Unreal Engine 4.
  • Real-time Global Illumination, partially dependent on the new interior lighting solution.
  • Improvements to skin shading.
  • Retro-Reflective shading (think of road signs at night), with the goal of aiding navigation at night as well as lending a more realistic look to our world.
  • All AI have been rewritten from the ground up.
  • All Third Person animations now match the quality of the First Person animations
  • Loot spawning has been rewritten, you can now steal backpack containers that you find in the world. You can also now find items in the world instead of only via containers. Make sure to keep your eyes peeled!
  • Infected Spawning is significantly more realistic, you won't encounter crowds of zombies in the middle of a seemingly empty field anymore.
  • Furniture that the player and NPCs can interact with, with more functionality coming in the future.
  • Vehicles while they have less polish in terms of how it feels to drive them (no animations for feedback) now come with a lot more stability in terms of their physics and with a lot more flexibility on how we decide to tackle problems such as boats, airplanes, etc.
  • Scopes have received a polish pass and no longer suffer from issues related to screen percentage.
  • We no longer rely on Distance Fields which has led to a reduction in hitching as well as freeing up some rendering overhead.
  • We have a new sky system with volumetric clouds
  • DLSS support has been added to Dead Matter
  • DX12 support has been added and typically results in gains versus DX11.
  • If you want to switch back to DX11 you can use the following launch option: -d3d11
  • Dead Matter now has better eye-adaption support than before due to our interiors being darker and free of noisy artifacts.
  • World Meshes for all clothing items are consistent and easy for us to generate.
  • The Inventory contains an additional jacket slot.
  • Legendary Weapon support has been implemented.
  • Character Creation now allows you to pick a different face as well as the gender for your character.
  • Level Designers now have a powerful Actor Input-Output system that enables them to create a variety of puzzles and other interactive elements.
  • Entirely new map built from scratch with a focus on realism and high graphical fidelity to more closely match the original vision for the project.
  • Notes and a variety of items that cater to allowing level designers to put together quests.
  • New Dialogue system that allows players to move around, sit in furniture or use a walkie talkie to engage in conversations with NPCs
  • New trading system that allows players to more easily trade with NPCs
  • Landscape rendering system which allows us to render the mountainous environment in a manner that does it justice.

There are also a lot of bits and bobs that were not included in the previous list. Most of the items in the feature list are things that we either spent a large amount of time on or are things that are incredibly important for building a solid foundation for a game to be built upon. Now that we've got that list out, we wanted to address the final elephant in the room. 0.7.0 is not going to be the update that makes Dead Matter a good game. 0.7.0 is simply a step in the right direction and this experimental build is a preview of where we intend on going with this project.

In all honesty, and as the lead developer on the project I was hoping that 0.7.0 would be the patch that gets the job done. That Dead Matter would be able to wash it's hands of all of the previous issues that it had faced, whether it's technical issues or issues with the gameplay itself.

I have personally written a large chunk of the code changes myself and truth be told, after rewriting a system after another system, after yet another, it started to feel like we were in an inescapable pit of shit to do.

I started to question the decision to hit the reset button and even felt it was not worth at it different points in the past, however it did not stop me from pressing forward. I firmly believe that with the time that I have had on this project to mature as a leader especially after the Closed Alpha launch which lead to a lot of self-reflection and a more inward focus towards improving the way that we as a studio function.

I have said it before, and I will say it again. With the amount of mistakes that we made during the course of Dead Matter's development before the Closed Alpha had launched, it's a miracle that we shipped. However the 0.7.0 Experimental patch going live was not a result of us managing to wrap things up at the last minute, it was the result of us iterating with daily playtests to verify the steps we were taking.

There are a lot of things that did not make it in to the 0.7.0 Experimental update or even 0.7.0 itself, regardless of what could have been I am still proud with what we are able to ship today. It is no small task to completely rebuild a game from the ground up and there were many points where I had to step outside of my comfort zone to get the results that this game deserves. I know that in terms of setting up a foundation for the future, we have succeeded on the technical front.

Even though I believe that 0.7.0 still falls short of what my original goals for the patch were, we came pretty damn close. With the wakeup call of 0.7.0's release fresh in my mind, and knowing how much work it took us to get here, I still believe that all of us will be playing a more engaging and more entertaining version of the game in a few months from now.

In conclusion, we've still got a lot of work ahead of us but we have the resources as well as the people that we need in order to execute the vision for Dead Matter.

All of us at the studio including myself are very aware of the fact that Dead Matter currently plays like a 1/10 game on a bad day and a 3/10 game on a good day, if you're being generous.

While we appreciate the fact that our strongest supports may not agree with that statement, I feel that we are being realistic. I know that our team is hungry to improve, and I do will never allow anyone on my team to lie to themselves about where our game sits.

I would like to personally give my gratitude to our backers. I wish I could thank all of you individually for the passionate support along the way. You folks are absolutely amazing and have enabled a young team of indie developers the once in a lifetime opportunity to earn a place within the games industry and we will never give up on this project or the people that have supported us.

I am extremely excited to see what we are able to come up with as Dead Matter is now firmly back on-track to a successful launch on Steam Early Access, now that a lot of the technical debt has been repaid our focus will be on further improving the gameplay and delivering on our vision for an immersive zombie survival sandbox.