JULY 30TH UPDATE - DEAD MATTER

Hey Survivors,

It’s time for another brief update to keep everyone informed on the development of the project. To keep things simple we will now be releasing our updates on Fridays rather than earlier in the week. While it’s “ideal” to post these earlier in the week to get better coverage on social media, our only objective with these updates is to keep our audience informed on the development progress behind Dead Matter.

WHAT HAS THE TEAM BEEN UP TO?

Our team has been working relentlessly within their respective disciplines in preparation for the 0.7.0 update. While we don’t want to give any dates just yet we can say that 0.7.0 is starting to appear on the horizon and will be released on an experimental branch once it’s ready to go up. It goes without saying that we are very excited to release this monumental update which includes an entirely new world-map that’s been designed to minimize issues with hitching.  

CODE RECAP

Since there has been and still is a whirlwind of tasks for our programming team to complete and since many of these changes in particular are better expressed in a video we decided that in the interim that it would be best to update the community on the overall progress of the programming team. Our code team has completely rewritten the following systems for 0.7.0

  • Infected pathfinding has been rewritten and now allows them to climb over obstacles and climb up onto different objects. Infected will also no longer “congo-line” when you are being pursued and they will also now try to flank you when they are approaching you from a distance.
  • New vault-point generation system that embeds the data into the mesh itself. This is to make sure the vaulting response on a per-mesh level is consistent.
  • Animal AI
  • Any spawning mechanism related to AI
  • Large Portions of our UI system have received love to keep them in a state that’s easier to maintain and expand upon.
  • Item Spawning which now allows our Level Designers to more easily add keys to the world, legendary weapons, notes from survivors, etc.
  • Item Containers have also been rewritten. We also now have instanced containers that we will only be using for Quest Rewards and some trading. Containers also have support for simple animations via a timeline.
  • Input binding and the way that internal objects are configured so we can more easily expose variables to server owners past 0.7.0
  • We have moved to a C++ port of the Advanced Locomotion System for our third person animations, while we’d love to spend time working on our own high-quality third person animation system we needed something that would work and reflect the quality of the first person animations.
  • We have moved away from using a proprietary sky-lighting system to Ultra Dynamic Sky which we will continue to modify to suit our needs over-time. UDS typically tends to support everything we want and does it a lot better than any in-house implementations that we’ve worked on previously.
  • New dialogue system that is far less constrained and allows for communication with NPCs via different objects such as the hand-held toolbelt radio.
  • Doors, buttons, and anything that you would press “F” on to activate have been rewritten to support the new system.
  • Material-Driven clothing system that allows us to clip out parts of the base mesh as well as other pieces of clothing. Before and after shots of what the system aims to fix.
  • Item Icon rendering has completely changed as there was a massive video memory leak associated with our previous system as it exists in 0.6.0. Icons can now be largely pre-rendered in the editor while items such as guns will need to use a refactored form of real-time rendering that saves png files to your disk to prevent your game from having to re-render the object twice.
  • Entirely new Quest system that is far easier to work with and has been broken down into multiple pieces.

Currently our programming team needs to implement the following before the green light for 0.7.0 can be switched on. If you have any feedback for the following now is the time to let us know via Discord or the forums.

  • Removing the current VOIP system and porting the old system from Vlog 10. VOIP is incredibly important for a survival game and we feel that this is a crucial feature.
  • Infected are currently deaf and do not respond to auditory stimuli.
  • Claims have been entirely removed from the game and will need to be replaced with a new system that aims to be a lot more organic.
  • Vehicles have already been removed from the project and they will need to be re-implemented given the size of our world-map. We are aware that survival games and vehicles tend to have a lot of headaches so keeping vehicles consistently implemented is a large goal for us.
  • Our dialogue system still needs a few bells and whistles to bring it up to par, this is mostly related to how the camera behaves when speaking to an NPC with the new system.
  • Trading with an NPC is currently impossible outside of using the dialogue system to essentially handle it. (Think of the Outcasts from Fallout 3 as an example of this).  Trading is pretty important and it’s a huge life-line for items in a game like Dead Matter especially as we are still in the Closed Alpha phase.
  • Characters and objects dropped/placed in the world currently do not save, we also want to implement a more “traditional” save system that allows you to save the entire state of the game session whenever you sleep at a bed.

Once we’ve completed the tasks above and the world is in a state where it is ready to have players and infected running around we will push a singleplayer only experimental build of 0.7.0 to ensure that elements such as infected spawn rates and loot spawning feels right. Once we feel the SP release of 0.7.0 is satisfactory we will move the default (non-experimental) branch on steam over to 0.7.0 which includes multiplayer.

TECH ART

One of our brand new Technical Artists has been helping the programming team implement a new retro-reflective shading model. This is something we’ve been holding back on posting until the shading effects were fully and properly implemented. This essentially allows us to significantly enhance the appearance and visibility of objects within the game at night. Be careful, if your clothing has any retroreflective elements you may be easier to spot at night.

Dead Man’s Flats, at night, with a flashlight equipped.

Julian, our new Technical Artist, has also implemented an easy-to-use system for electrical poles which our level designers to add yet another level of realism to our world.

LED Lightpost in Dead Man’s Flats

3D ART

Victor, one of our newest team members, has been working on a Canadian armed forces G-wagon – Light Utility Vehicle Wheeled (LUVW).  While the vehicle has yet to be textured and ported in-engine you can see the amount of detail that has been poured into it. There are some additional variants of the vehicle that we will be posting in the near future once it has been brought into the engine.

CHARACTER ART

Our Character artists have nearly completed the starting outfits for each of the different character professions.  We are extremely excited as character creation and allowing players to focus on where their character started versus where their character is now and who they have become is an extremely important element of Dead Matter.

Blacksmith Starting Outfit
Delivery Driver Starter Outfit
Security Guard Starter Outfit
Check out them folds.. Mmm. (also, yes, you can use the flashlight.)

WRAPPING UP

In news related to our studio we have brought on 4 new staff members in the last couple of weeks and they are extremely excited to showcase their work here soon. These new team members are key to helping us accelerate the development of Dead Matter as well as helping refine and mentor the existing talent at QI. Keep an eye out on the community discord as they may be poking around!

July has made for a solid month of progress and as we continue to accelerate our development via bringing more people in, refining our production pipeline to remove roadblocks and bottlenecks as well as empowering our Level Designers by putting them at the center of attention when designing new systems.

We would also like to thank our backers and partners for their continued support, no matter how many times we say it you guys rock and we are extremely grateful for your support. Please tune in next week for a sneak peak at the new Infected!