SEPTEMBER 10TH UPDATE

Hey Survivors!

Welcome to another weekly wrap up. We had a busy week here at the office and have some great stuff to show off, we’ve also got an update on the current status of the 0.7 update which will be going live into experimental on the 31st of October.

CALGARY INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

We are gearing up for our presence at the Calgary international film festival. If you or someone you know is in the Calgary area, feel free to drop by and say hi! We will have some exclusive reels footage from the game and the 0.7.0 update. Our team members Mike and Victor will be there talking shop and giving away some postcards and other collectible Knick knacks. The festival will be held September 23rd through to October 3rd, our booth will be at the Eau Claire Cineplex.

0.7.0 UPDATE

As mentioned at the start of this update, we will be shipping 0.7.0 into experimental on Halloween. Experimental builds can be opted-in via Steam when they are available. They are singleplayer-only builds and are mostly focused on fixing any crashes that the client or the server may potentially encounter. One client crashing is not the same as a dedicated server crashing and ruining the experience of 40+ people.

Once major issues and any crashes that occur in singleplayer have been resolved (crash reports and feedback left in game is key) we will be spinning up the official dedicated servers while the build is still in experimental as the last phase of moving the patch from experimental to the current live version of the Closed Alpha.

Once 0.7 is out of experimental we will be moving 0.6 to a different branch on Steam that will serve as an archive. This is because we want to demonstrate very clearly where the game was and the direction that it is heading in.

WHY HAS IT BEEN TAKING SO LONG?

As we have stated multiple times, 0.7.0 is a massive overhaul patch. We started from a brand new Unreal Project while only retaining chunks of the old codebase as our starting point. This is so we could go through all of our assets and either reimport them from their original source or porting them from the old project by exporting the object and reimporting it into the new project.

We went through this entire process because of the issues that our old map was facing as well as the content having heaps of issues that were all related to the fact our content contained files dating back to 2016. This was mainly done for the sake of resolving multiple issues related to performance.

It makes far more sense to create a clean slate, use our existing content and move forward with periodic testing than to try and make what was already there work. It has been an admittedly painful road filled with a lot of long nights but we ultimately feel that this was the best path to follow in order to achieve a more realistic and more performant version of the game.

WHAT WILL BE DIFFERENT IN 0.7.0?

This is a brief list of bullet points that summarize some of the more important changes coming in 0.7.0. This is not a complete list of changes and we will be providing a final list when 0.7.0 ships. We are simply posting this to illustrate the changes that will be upcoming.

  • Vehicles have been refactored, this includes wheeled vehicles and the helicopter you could spawn in with development commands.
  • Vehicles will no longer freak out if you attempt to vault on them.
  • Vehicles will no longer be sent into the stratosphere by the suspension system freaking out.
  • Helicopters should now function properly in multiplayer, they also have less issues when it comes to stalling out when flying in the air.
  • Vehicles no longer consume gas or take damage. This is so we can focus on the technical aspects, we will be re-adding these in a later patch.
  • Two wheeled vehicles such as a bicycle are now supported and function as you would expect them to.
  • Transmissions and engine values across the board are now much more reflective of real-life values.  As an example, the golf cart does not have multiple gears as it is an electric vehicle.
  • Gear shift timings on vehicles that have a stick shift reflect the time it takes to change gears.
  • You can now ride on vehicles simply by jumping or vaulting onto them.
  • You no longer affect the physics of a vehicle when standing on it and moving forward.
  • Vehicles have had their 3d inventories removed, we’re unsure if we have the time to reimplement this feature before 0.7.0 goes onto experimental.
  • Infected have been rewritten.
  • Infected can currently vault over obstacles and climb up onto high ledges.
  • Infected have new animations that will eventually be replaced with motion-capture.
  • Infected are more reactive with animations and sound cues making stealth much more viable.
  • Infected now stumble when shot.
  • Infected have a random chance to fall over while stumbling.
  • Infected can get back up after falling over.
  • Infected have a new set of behaviors which have been crafted around playtesting in a practical test environment.
  • Like before, the infected will spawn around the player and they will react to sounds. Our objectives for infected spawns in 0.7.0 is to enable players to clear out an area and to punish players for making noise in populated areas.
  • Human NPCs are now derived from the same base class as the player.
  • Traders and NPCs that you can speak to in 0.6 have been entirely replaced with AI controlled version of the player character.
  • Dialogue has been completely overhauled and decoupled from NPCs. This is to allow us to use the radio for dialogue responses.
  • You can now move around when talking to an NPC or even just walk away from a conversation if you feel like it.
  • Trading has been simplified and uses instanced containers to store the items you purchased from an NPC.
  • Human NPCs can interact with furniture and you may find it more comfortable to have a seat when having a discussion with an NPC.
  • Weapons and Gunplay
  • Many weapons have received animation tweaks.
  • Scopes have been cleaned up for those that need to run the game using DLSS or with a screen percentage that is less than 100.
  • You can now find legendary weapons in the world, these weapons cannot have their attachments edited. They also have a unique name associated with them.
  • Inventory and Loot
  • Loot now spawns in the world as physical items rather than being entirely based on searching containers.
  • You can now pickup backpacks that you find in the world rather the backpack being a container.
  • Folded clothing variants now exist for all clothing that the player can wear.
  • There is a new jacket slot in the player inventory.
  • Item Icons are now almost entirely rendered offline except for instances where it is not viable.
  • Realtime Item Icon rendering now saves the icons to a png file on your computer, you will never have to render the same item twice.
  • Realtime Item Icon rendering no longer contains a VRAM memory leak.
  • Clipping should be significantly reduced as we now cull the underlying player mesh with a material rather than the performance heavy alternative of having multiple skeletal mesh components for the player which is what 0.6.0 currently uses.
  • Level Designers can now create and place keys for certain kinds of doors or containers in the world much more easily.
  • Graphical Improvements
  • Distance Field Ambient Occlusion is no longer in use and artifacting within interiors has been significantly reduced.
  • Volumetric Fog has been removed.
  • Interiors now have better reflections enabling a far cleaner look on metallic surfaces.
  • Interiors are now truly dark compared to the outdoors, resulting in Dead Matter properly taking advantage of eye adapatation.
  • Weather effects on the surface of objects will no longer appear indoors, neither will any particles related to weather.
  • Dead Matter now has volumetric clouds. You can fly into them for the time being.
  • Some objects in Dead Matter now have retro-reflective shading to aid the player when they are travelling at night.
  • Dead Matter now uses it’s own version of Screen Space Ambient Occlusion that heavily improves upon the current version in Dead Matter.
  • Dead Matter now supports DLSS and will be available in 0.7.0 as soon as possible.

CHARACTER SKINS

We’ve started implementing some of the changes to our character customization setup into the 0.7.0 build. Ontop of being able to customize the facial structure of your characters face, you will also be able to select different skin tones and textures.

We’re still working on getting some new hair and female characters implemented, along with better facial morphs and a default set of morphs for each different face. But for a first pass, we feel that this is a strong step in the right direction.

Example of the new skin versus the current player mesh (right).
Small sample of the different facemaps that will be available in 0.7.0

MORE LEVEL DESIGN

We have some clips from some newly developed map sections. The first gallery showcases a local campground in the Seebe area. A once lively weekend getaway left in almost vacant shambles… aside from a few brave scavengers and the infected. Table and ground loot isn’t apparent in these images as they are taken from the editor viewpoint.

The second showcase is a newly filled out gas station. A living monument to the looting, violence, and desperation following the outbreak. We are extremely happy with out LD teams success in creating a truly story telling scene. The density of not only items but also destruction really paint a picture of how the station became what it is, and what it was.

Thanks for tuning in! As the leafs turn brown and the crisp fall air sets in around Calgary, the team is more excited than ever to be in the office and get update 0.7.0 out to you survivors! We know its been a long wait but we know it will be worth it!

Till next time… Stay safe, stay kind, and take care!