Baty Alquawen

2016 In Review

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Greetings Survivors,

As we wrap up 2016, we'd like to take a moment and look back on what has been done so far, and what is to come. 2016 has been a pivotal year for DayZ development, both on the public Steam branches, and internally. For those who haven't followed development closely, lets start with the changes that have made it to Steam this year.

New Renderer:

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Anticipated for a long time coming, 2016 saw the introduction of the new renderer for DayZ onto Steam's stable branch. An ongoing task throughout DayZ's development, this update to the engine powering DayZ was one of the most complex changes for the development team. The legacy renderer was originally intertwined with the engine side simulation going back to the earliest dayz of Real Virtuality. Seperating this, ensuring that no core systems or mechanics were broken, and introducing the new renderer technology to DayZ while ensuring a 1:1 visual fidelity was the base goal for introducing this to Steam. With the addition of volumetric fog, and the massive improvements to client frame rate the whole team was elated. 2016 took that one step farther with .61 tackling the issue of dynamic lighting and shadows, finally removing the thorn in the side of night time gameplay by preventing light sources from ignoring structure geometry, players, and so much more. Add into this dynamic lighting changes to .61, and light sources such as camp fires, flares, and more finally became viable for night time survival.

 

Randomizing attachments, loot spawned in containers, and on infected:

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While it may seem like a small part of the larger puzzle, the "looting" side of DayZ's gameplay is integral to the experience, and should not be ignored. Adding in support within the Central Economy and item configs for arrays with multiple classnames, as well as having the infected themselves be a potential source of loot added a much needed boost to the search for those critical items survivors need to deafeat the obstacles within Chernarus.

Dynamic Spawning of Infected:

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Throughout DayZ's development we have spawned a large amount of infected globally, spread throughout the world in an effort to reduce the meta-gaming and systematic learning of the mods script based trigger spawning based upon player proximity. Unfortunately, this led to us never really creating a feeling of dread or danger from our infected, as while they massively outnumbered players - they were spread throughout a huge 256km2 landmass. Utilizing the dynamic event system that powered things like helicopter crashes, and police car spawns to increase infected density in cities, towns, and villages that are within the 1km network bubble of players has reintroduced that long missed feeling of the infected citizens of Chernarus being a true threat within gameplay. While server optimization moving forward into beta will allow us to slowly increase these amounts, as well as beta itself allowing us to continue to improve the threat they offer - 2016 saw a reintroduction of a core element of DayZ gameplay.

 

Network Synchronization Improvements:

As long as DayZ has been on Steam, one of the most frustrating bugs for users to encounter has been the seemingly random breaking of legs, death from running over a small rock, or experiencing crippling desync within a player versus player encounter. Our gameplay programming team introduced with the first builds of 0.61 an architecture change on how our client/server networking communication occurs. Addressing approximately 90% of all known issues related to client/server position desync, and finally putting a nail in the coffin of the sudden "broken legs" while navigating larger structures. In addition, overall client/server communication throughout gameplay was improved, and a significant improvement of responsivity was the result. While beta will see continued iteration and improvement in these areas, this is arguably one of the largest and most impactful changes to the playability of DayZ Early Access, and we think you'll all enjoy it.

 

Predator AI:

 

Talked about initially in the early years of DayZ development, 2016 saw 0.61 introduce the first of DayZ's predator AI in the form of wolves. Known to roam the northern and far western reaches of Chernarus, wolves have introduced an off-road threat present even when no other players, or infected are to be seen. Traveling in packs, and stalking vulnerable players these enemies have quickly become a reason to save your shotgun ammo.

 

Eden Sound Engine:

Thanks to close cooperation with the fantastic team working on Arma 3, the DayZ development team were able to introduce the new audio technology that powered the Arma 3 Eden update. Allowing the DayZ Audio team to begin work on expanding the impact of sounds of gunshots within Chernarus. Beyond just proper volume attenuation, this update allowed a massive injection of immersion and paired with cooperation of the gameplay programming team, a much needed focus on addressing issues with gunshot sounds playing for all players, and a fantastic side effect of drawing players towards each other through gunshot sounds resonating through the hills and valleys of Chernarus. Moreso in 0.61 than ever before, the choice to fire a weapon in Chernarus has become a multi faceted one. Concerning both attracting large numbers of infected, and the unwanted attention of other and potentially more dangerous players. Moving into Beta and onto 1.0, this technology will allow continued improvement in all areas of the DayZ soundscape.

 

Server Login Queue & New Server Browser:

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At the tail end of 2016, 0.61 saw the introduction of both the first iteration of our new server browser, and the much requested server login queue system. The new server browser is the first step towards our drive to properly presenting the official, vanilla experience as the first thing new players see, and will continue to evolve as we move into beta. On the ease of use side, the new server login queue removes the need to hammer that connect button, and beyond that - addresses critical vulnerabilities present in previous builds when large amounts of players try to connect. A huge gain for server side performance (and thus stability, and playability) the server login queue was originally slated for beta, but pushed up to address server stress after the 0.60 experimental push.

As exciting as the changes that made it to Steam are, even more work was done internally behind the scenes that aren't quite ready to hit Steam. Lets take a look at the things that were done behind the scenes internally on DayZ development in 2016:

 

Design Team:

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Its no secret that the development team halted the addition of new mechanics, weapons, and most content on the old SQF language, animation system, and so on. While work pushed forward on mostly engine, and infrastructure changes (as well as the design work required to properly configure them), the design team have been hard at work on both moving over all of the gameplay systems written in the old SQF scripting language (Approx 90% completed so far!), as well as creating and supporting new mechanics flagged to come in our beta milestone such as electricity, base building objects, and more!

 

Animation Team:

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The animation team has had a mountain of work in front of them for 2016. From working hand in hand with the programmers responsible for creating DayZ's upcoming new animation system, to collaborating with designers and artists on all of the required new animations for new content, mechanics, items and so on. Not to mention redoing all the animations for existing gameplay mechanics, and items created on the legacy system from 0.28 to 0.60. With progress examples including but not limited to:

  • 90% of all required animations for our Beta milestone completed
  • 44 Weapons redone (Each about 10 anims per weapon)
  • 24 new weapon unjamming anims (2 anims each)
  • 2 New Vehicles (Approx 35 anims each)
  • 2 New Gestures (Approx 9 anims each)
  • 30 New Combat Anims
  • 24 New Action Anims
  • 1,744 Adjusted, Refined, and Exported Anims

As we move past 0.61 in the tail of the year, and the bulk of the team is focused on our beta milestone, their work internally has paid off extensively, as the team can now begin working with our final animation system and the fruit of their hard work over the last year finally begins to make it to the main DayZ internal branch.

 

Sound Team:

Over 2016 the SFX team have been working hard collaborating with gameplay programmers, and support from the Arma team to introduce our new audio technology, as well as hand in hand with Art and Design teams to further the depth of audio simulation across the terrain and inside the buildings of Chernarus. From everything to new ambient SFX, infected audio, user actions audio, and so much more. 
Within 2016 the Audio Team were able to complete over 95% of all new player sound assets, introduce new gun SFX tied with the new audio system, internally complete new ambient sounds, prepare for additional improvements on melee SFX, and focus on new vehicle sounds in preperation for completion of new audio technology support for vehicles. Beyond that the team has plans for improvements to footstep sounds, and foley SFX based upon player gear as we move past Beta and into 1.0.

 

Art Team:

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The art team is leading the charge into beta, and over 2016 has created a large amount of new content for the beta milestone. Including, but not limited to the CR 550, Mini Uzi, OTs-14, PKM, PP-19, Scout, PB 6P9, Saiga 12, Improvised Fence, Electrical Generator, Watchtower, Crop Duster, ALICE Pack, Recurve Bow, Biohazard Showers, Metro Police Station, Civilian Sedan, over 20 new characters for the new player/animation system and so much more! 2016 also saw significant improvements to the layout and structure of Chernarus as a whole, with extensive map changes and redesigns throughout the year such as the cities of Cherogorsk, and Elektrozavodsk, as well as villages like Tulga and Staroye, and railways throughout the country. In addition, they wrap up the new year working on finalizing the revamped "Chernarus HD" wilderness with the environment team for 0.62.

 

Engine & Gameplay Programming Team:

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DayZ's Programming teams have had a massive amount of work on their plates for 2016. With a massive amount of the technical responsibility of preparing for Beta and 1.0 milestones, they've tackled the implementation of the new renderer, iterative improvements including dynamic shadows, improving client side performance, supporting increased view distance for light sources, and much more. Beyond that they've taken on introducing the new sound technology from the Arma team, addressing legacy peer to peer issues from Real Virtuality, Transfering ownership of every entity within the gamespace to the server, transfering to fixed time step simulation (which helps address synchronization of player position enabling much more reliable server responsivity to player input), Removing legacy mechanisms in player simulation and entity updates (allowing the simulation of more entities in the same frame), Introducing the first 64 bit client builds to Steam, Improving physics and vehicle simulation, implementing dynamic AI spawning, introducing the server queue system, and focusing a significant amount of work on the new player controller, animation system, and damage system. With even more plans for impovement, and optimization in these areas moving into the new year.

In closing, 2016 has been a difficult but fruitful year for DayZ and the development team. We've overcome many obstacles, and the successes we have achieved have been a huge step in the direction we'd like to go with DayZ. The support of the community, and engagement through our official forums and feedback tracker have been a massive assistance in the march towards Beta and 1.0, and we couldn't be more excited to share that journey with you all.

Edited by Baty Alquawen
sanguine00, Thurman Merman, bingo_fuel and 38 others gave beans to this

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Wooooo, happy new year!

Great report, Baty!

So much is changing so fast, I'm excited for 2017!
 

23 minutes ago, Baty Alquawen said:

over 20 new characters for the new player/animation system

Does this mean more characters for players to choose from?

So we won't all just be generic white guy #5 anymore?

Spac3, IMT, Tatanko and 2 others gave beans to this

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Thank you for sharing this with us, always nice to get some insider information. DayZ has seen some massive changes in 0.60 and 0.61 for me and slowly but surely we're going towards the game we like to see. 2016 has seen some great changes for DayZ, no doubt. But I'm sure 2017 will see even more changes and I can't wait for that.

Take the deserved rest and recharge yourselfs to go fit and full of energy into 2017.

I wish everyone of the DayZ Development Team and the community a merry Christmas and an happy new year!

Spac3, GaryWalnuts, ImageCtrl and 2 others gave beans to this

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Skimmed through most of it but this is awesome! I knew you guys had done a ton of stuff behind the scenes that most people didn't know about and it's great to see some of that here and lots of coming soon to the game. Keep up the good work you guys!

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2016 was DayZ SA's best year thus far. I really cannot wait for the new animation system/player controller.
Can't wait for the Beta phase with vehicles, barricades and modding tools. I really do hope DayZ is gonna be the game we all've been dreaming about for years.
 

Merry Christmas and best wishes to the whole Dayz Dev team, you guys are great and your hard work has started to show.

#MDAYZGA

IMT gave beans to this

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Bin following Day Z for years and its finally starting to shine like i hope it would. Thanks to the whole development team for the hard work, it deff shows. I do hope you guys will focus a bit more on the Infected in 2017 and make them rly a much bigger threat for all of us.

Wish you all a happy new year

&

see you in Chernarus!

Gadget_97 and IMT gave beans to this

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Thank you for the update, Baty. Although I have been frustrated with how long it is taking for updates to come out, I always tried to temper those feelings with the thought that the backend transition was a huge undertaking and was the cause for the delays. Posts like there make me feel quite a bit better, knowing that is the case and the devs are still putting in the hard work that it takes to get to Beta and beyond. .61 has been a VERY welcome update and I'm really pleased with it. 

Keep up the great work, Bohemia! 

AmazingAussie gave beans to this

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Not to plug myself, but for anyone interested in a recap of previous years to get a sense of development from beginning -> now, I did a 3-part series on this around the holidays last year. I'll put links below :)

 

Part 1: http://imgur.com/a/aEnbM

Part 2: http://imgur.com/a/naNwq

Part 3: http://imgur.com/a/Y0dZC

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Great work Bohemia :) 0.61 has been the best update yet, thank you for the overview.

Merry Christmas and a happy new year!

Edited by AmazingAussie
Clasius gave beans to this

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2 hours ago, AmazingAussie said:

Great work Bohemia :) 0.61 has been the best update yet, thank you for the overview.

Merry Christmas and a happy new year!

This entire year has been the best for DayZ so far.

So many huge changes, they really outdid themselves.

Bravo.

AmazingAussie gave beans to this

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6 minutes ago, DannyDog said:

This entire year has been the best for DayZ so far.

So many huge changes, they really outdid themselves.

Bravo.

I couldn't agree more, the new renderer was a very welcoming addition, and the fixes to server desync and no more random leg breaking, instantaneous vaulting and hotbar in 0.61 is very welcoming as well :D

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In my rookie opinion, dayz has made massive strides this year. That new engine alongside the recent map developments, tied in with the amazing new sound system... Ah...

Glorious things coming... glorious things indeed.

Thanks Baty for the compilation of awesomeness.

Edited by camcantrun

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Hello boyz and girlz!

This year have seriously been amazing!!

I mean.. there is just so much.. New engine, new rendering system, new sounds, wolfs and so much more..

Its litrally insane!!

Im so happy for all of this! Every update have been better then the last :)

I have one small consern when i saw "what have been going on behind the scenes" Stamina in Dayz? I mean i get

that you want to give the vehicles a more importent roll in the game. but i think some people just dont want to be in a vehicle..

it sounds lound, you feel vulnerable.. I like to travel by foot.. see the nature, taking long runs, run from town to town..

 

But then again.. What do i know, I havent even tryed it.. Right! It might be awsome. who knows..

Everything else in Dayz is awsome so why wouldent stamina be that. :D

 

Merry Xmas!

/Irok

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DayZ has really come far this year. You guys have done an amazing amount of work on the game. I cannot believe there are still people out there accusing Bohemia of forgetting about DayZ when the game itself is proof that you guys have been working super hard to make an awesome game for all of us to play. Thank you, thank you very much!

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if you add function ON\OFF HUD menu, it will be great. With new stamina andhealth bar DayZ looks like battlefield or CS or another arcade shooter, not survival!

Bororm gave beans to this

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      To quickly recap what was presented in demo:
      New rocks, roads and their decals with parallax mapping. New characters with better body proportions and heads with lifespan, containing growing shaveable beards, washable bloody hands from skinning bodies New character controller and animation system with very responsive and fluent character movement, coupled with new physics for better collisions, allowing for smooth traversing through environment (yes even running down/up the hill!) New movement sets for turning, injured, falling character as well as carrying heavy items around in hands New gestures with the ability to move while using them New stamina system, differentiating character movement speed depending on their load New melee combat system with attack and hit impacts animations New ranged combat with extended weapon handling and aiming with new sway and recoil New intuitive way to perform actions with items in hands even while moving, crafting new ones even directly from world and interactions with environment without pixel hunting New HUD and inventory with clear layout and resized cargo and item sizes New voice communication including personal radio, megaphone and public address system New advanced placing which will be used for precise placement of specific items New electricity system with cable reels to reach far places And much more... There were thousands of gamers and content creators looking forward to get their hands on the first iteration of what DayZ will become in BETA. It was an interesting mixture of people that never played DayZ before, ones who put it down waiting patiently for BETA, and those who still play DayZ regularly and spent from hundreds to thousands of hours in-game. I've spent a great amount of time observing how people play the game, and discussed with them about what they like on the new DayZ, what would they still like to see improved, and why.
      With this approach, I gained a ton of feedback. It was very positive to see and hear that we are actually on the right track, and people do like what they see, and especially how it plays. Bear in mind nothing is set in stone yet, and everything could be changed, especially after valuable feedback we received. It will allow us to refine the design a bit more, so in it’s final form, DayZ could unleash its full potential, and allow people to enjoy what DayZ is so well known for - an emergent gameplay full of interactions, which creates stories filled with unique experience and leaving strong memories in atmospheric world.
      After meeting you at Gamescom 2017... see you in Chernarus folks!
      - Peter Nespesny / Lead Designer
       
      Dev Update/Martin
      As both Eugen and Peter mentioned, Gamescom was a really positive experience for us. The very stressful couple of weeks before we left the office and travelled to Cologne were definitely worth it in the end, as we've been met with a very warm welcome at Gamescom, and also fulfilled our mission: to gather preliminary feedback on an early 0.63 build.
      As Baty will share in her part of the Status Report, we did our best to provide some meaningful coverage for those of you not visiting Gamescom. The couple of live streams we organized with Twitch and GameStar.de were quite full of interesting news, so do check them out below, along with content from M1ndr, Barely Infected or Merlin from DayZ Underground.
      It's a bit unfortunate that we were not able to capture a better gameplay clip for both live streams in time (due to both time constraints and last minute fixes to the playable DEMO build), so the presented footage was a bit bare bones and glitchy at times, but as promised, we will deliver a good amount of quality 1080p/60FPS footage in the following days. The footage will take the form of a Dev Log video similar to those made for 0.62, and you can expect around 10 minutes of new content with Eugen's developer narration. 
      Also, since we decided not to make the DEMO available on Steam, we'll see if we can at least organise a live stream where you can see live gameplay, and ask us questions. Our pre-gamescom live stream was a bit of a technical failure, so we need to spend some more time planning the live stream, but we have a decent combat plan to make it all happen. 
      That's it from me this week. Thanks everyone who visited us at Gamescom, you were awesome! Now, let's see some of the community content from our booth. 
      - Martin Čulák/ Brand Manager
       
      Community Spotlight

      Gamescom is over, we are back in Prague, and work on BETA continues. 
      It was something new to us and some people in the team have never been to a big event like Gamescom before. It was exhausting, but it was worth it, because your feedback is what we really needed. And we are really happy we got a lot of very positive feedback from you!  


      It was a total of 6 of us from the DayZ team, and for five days, you were able to meet us in the booth and play DayZ on 18 PCs.  You could play a short PvP demo, try some features from the upcoming 0.63 build and grab some nice little presents along the way. You've surely seen videos that appeared mostly on Twitter and Reddit from people who have already tried the demo. Unfortunately, as Martin explained, we do not have an official video ready yet, but we will catch up this week and if everything goes according to our plan, the video commented by our Lead Producer Eugen Harton will be released by the end of the week. Before it's out, you can look at the impressions of M1ndr and Rene (Barely Infected) who also visited us to try the DEMO: 

       

       
      There were two live streams during Gamescom where our Lead Producer Eugen was talking about the Gamescom DEMO and BETA. First one on the line was the GameStar.de live stream, and the second one was a Twitch official Gamescom live stream (watch the VOD here, you need to move to time 8:10:55). 

       
      We also hosted a community meetup at Gamescom, where we met ten of you and barely fit into our small meeting room. For almost two hours, we talked about DayZ and what you can expect from the BETA. And you got some special gifts we prepared for this event. I would like to thank you very much for coming to see us and I hope you enjoyed the meeting as much as we did! 

       
      Before Gamescom, we organized an event on Skalisty Island where players became knights and fought in teams to capture the Skalisty castle. Except for a bit of a waiting waiting, everything went well and all players were quite happy.
      There were some content creators who were streaming or recording their gameplay which they then placed on YouTube, so those of you who were not there can see it too. Blue team won the battle of the castle, but the greys fought bravely too. I want to thank everyone for their patience and the fact that they have arrived. You can look forward to another event soon! 
      Just for clarification, the recording of the developer stream that accompanied the event was removed due to technical issues during the stream. Unfortunately, we did not correctly estimate the demands of the stream on the hardware and therefore the stream was flawed by unpleasant lags. We learned our lesson and it will be better next time. 

       
      I've created a list of YouTube recordings for you, so you can see what was happening through the eyes of several players. If I forgot to include someone just tweet me at @batyalquawen and I'm going to add you to the playlist. 

       
      And in the end, I want to show you a funny bug we found yesterday. Adam Franců sent it to me with this description: 



       
      Thanks again to everyone who came to play the Gamescom demo and to everyone who gave us any feedback. We really appreciate it. See you in two weeks guys and have a nice start of a new school year! 
      Header image by MAMAD_NZR.
        - Baty / Community Manager