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By Baty Alquawen
An outbreak of Gamescom plague caused chaos in our schedules and organisation, but most of the team is back in business now. Brian sets a perspective on how to balance excitement and expectations now when we're approaching an important milestone in DayZ development. Eugen sums up our immediate internal development goals that will eventually lead us to that BETA milestone, and how they add up to the big picture of DayZ 1.0. We're welcoming back Viktor, who's found some time to reflect upon the new animation changes presented at Gamescom, and there's also Martin's update on the status of a promised 0.63 Dev Log video. As usual, Baty is closing of with awesome community content, and invites everyone to Birmingham's EGX next week! Let's get ready for some reading!
Contents This Week
Dev Update/Hicks Dev Update/Eugen Dev Update/Viktor Dev Update/Martin Community Spotlight
Y'know, I've seen a lot of folks talking about 0.63 like it will solve world hunger - which is something I've seen associated with other pending builds before. Be it the new renderer, changes to sound, adjustments to economy, or even the introduction of the V3S. Typically people get pissy with me when I have to try and bring things down to earth, but I'm alright with being the bad guy in this case.
Anytime you change the technology powering a piece of software, hell anytime you change the software itself in any way, you come up against risk. The degree of risk is the factor that fluctuates, and its up to the developers creating said software to weigh the risk of a change, versus the pay off. For us as a team, and for DayZ as a product the pay off is well worth the risk. For years now we've been internally prototyping, be it in documentation, in script, or in intermediate technologies built to serve the gap between what is functioning on the consumer Steam branch, and what is functioning internally on the main trunk.
I've had the pleasure of previewing, discussing, and in some cases "teasing" these prototypes, and documentation for years. Eager to share our intent with you, but often blocked from actually sharing the experience with you due to technical limitations. The .63/Beta update is the first major step towards the technology finally being able to bring this vision forward. It is not the end of the road, but it is most certainly the most important lap we have made
I did not overstate it when I said that the change to animation system, player controller, and scripting language would begin to alter how you interact with the world itself. This is fundamentally a huge change, both internally and externally for you, the consumer. I'm neither trying to charge up the hype train, nor am I trying to crush anyone's hopes and dreams. It's rare that a title gets the support from a company to spend the time working on improving the core technology to better meet the needs of design. Typically, technology limitations inform design within a few small exceptions from time to time. Its been a long road, and bumpy as hell ,but we're finally within sight of being able to finally share with all of you the things we've all worked on for so long.
And we couldn't have done it without all of you.
- Brian Hicks / Creative Director
Hello survivors! Post-gamescom rush has ended quickly with a lot people getting sick, feverish from Gamescom plague. With people missing we were trying to get through the feedback in our internal post-mortem and follow up it up in the plan for following months and weeks before BETA becomes available. I have to say that the road does not end there, and we still are dedicated to polish the experience further before we leave Early Access. What BETA means is that most if not all features promised will be implemented in the new technology, and iterated upon further as we move to leave out of Early Access with 1.0 version. I believe that feedback will be critical in this phase where all the issues need to get ironed out.
In the meantime, we focused on issues either seen during Gamescom or general plans that have been set out. Special attention has been put on critical issues of camera that was still up for refactor. As it is nowhere near the level that we want from the game, nor has the feature set needed. From the clipping issues to twitchy movement and abuse, there is lot of ground to cover.
And there is a lot more as the whole Gamescom experience worked as an amazing focus test on large scale. We had the chance to see how people work around the new stuff available and observe to see the flaws in the whole system. Which was an amazing opportunity, and I can`t wait to have the same experience with other people online, so that we can make this game the best it can be together.
The next step for us, is to finish up more advanced features for melee and ranged combat, additional camera technology to support all the new gameplay, and finalizing the character movement and variation, before we move heavily into area of infected, where some heavy work needs to be done.
Once the base loop feels really good, we will move onto rest of the game to polish all these things in the new technology. We will survive!
- Eugen Harton / Lead Producer
Hi everyone. It has been a while since the last time I contributed to the Status Report. The past weeks were a bit hectic with the animation things related to the Gamescom build. I think animators did a great job adding all the content which everyone was able to play for couple of days. We were very pleased by the positive feedback to the new player controller, injured animations, heavy items animations, combat and everything else that was presented.
The version available to play was not final by any means. We are still aiming for significant improvements in many areas of player character and infected as well. The presented wounded character was a first draft in fact. In the upcoming days, weeks and months we will continue on animation improvements and reworks.
Currently, we are also working on some new death animations. We are adding directional deaths for all item types and all stances. Initially, the character will play the pre-recorded animation only but later, we will start with directional death animation and in the middle of the animation, we will switch to ragdoll so that the characters would fall and align with environment nicely.
Another big part of the game that is being worked on are poses for different items. There are hundreds of various food items, weapons or tools that need a proper pose. From the very beginning of the DayZ, we have decided to have a nice holding for each of these items. At the moment, all these poses are being made and added to the game.
- Viktor Kostik / Lead Animator
Survivors, I just want to briefly update you on the status of the 0.63 Dev Log that we teased and promised to deliver after Gamescom. Unfortunately, a sizeable portion of the team (including Baty, Eugen and me) got hit by an outbreak of some sneaky virus that we most likely brought with us back from Gamescom.
Since we have a very small marketing/community team here, this further delayed the production of the Dev Log video, but we're back in business now, and we've also managed to get some additional help from our QA Engineer Dan Fialka (who's been with us at Gamescom as well). He's recording some of the gameplay clips as we speak, so hopefully we'll be able to speed things up a notch now.
Recording a couple of gameplay clips from an internal build may sound like an an easy task, but if they are supposed to be done according to a script, and connected with a developer voice over, it suddenly becomes a complicated undertaking - especially when the internal build of DayZ just decides to behave weirdly, and randomly throws crashes and glitches your way. Of course, we want to avoid showing these things in official content as much as possible, as the intent is to present the best of what the current build can offer.
If anything, it also shows that the build is simply not ready to be played beyond a very controlled and structured environment that was the Gamescom booth, and that our decision to not release it on a Steam branch was very well reasoned. We'll let you know on our forums and social media channels the moment the video is ready - for now, please hold tight end enjoy some of the community content from Gamescom that we shared in the last Status Report!
- Martin Čulák/ Brand Manager
The Gamescom epidemic hit a lot of us and I wasn't an exception. But I am ready for a new event! You might know there is a show called EGX in Birmingham, England. I and my colleague, brand manager Martin Čulák, will be there on Friday and we want to meet everyone from DayZ community, who is also planning to attend this gaming event. Watch our Twitter for more information.
Barely Infected came with an amazing idea. He organized a group of survivors and built a camp named "DayZ Village" where all the good people can live together and help each other in this cruel time of apocalypse. This project had great success and The Village is nowadays still pretty crowded. You can find it on Spaggie's server at 126.96.36.199:2402 and The Village is located on the Zub castle. I spent some time there and it was awesome. People are nice, they care about each other and try to protect The Village together. The Village was planned for just one week, but with this success, Barely Infected decided to prolong it.
Barely Infected has documentation of every day on his server.
You can find a lot of content from creators on Youtube and make your own impression of what is going on on the server. For example from these guys: Gaming Junkie, CitizenZ, CamCANTRUN, Raig Prime, Kerbo, FriendlyNikolai, 2dogsgaming, RageBruh or HandZ.
Here is a funny prank from M1NDER, he pranked the whole village.
And one last thing about this event - artwork of DayZ Village by Dominik Figlhuber.
Everyone is looking forward to the 0.63 update. But not as much as this guy. KaskadianRepublik's body is ready. But since 0.63 is still not ready for public, you will need to wait until it's done.
I want to show you one video. It is about love between a dog and a human. Fluffy cute wolf who wants to eat everyone around him. But Whoopsie DayZ falls in love with him and wants to have him as a pet. How this can end? I laughed a lot, you need to see it.
Have a nice time guys and see you in two weeks!
Header image by Vernon Price.
- Baty / Community Manager
By Baty Alquawen
This week, the Status Report fully focuses on recapping our Gamescom experience. We've been presenting the 0.63 playable DEMO in Cologne, Germany the entire past week, and met literally hundreds of players who tried the DEMO live at our booth as we watched them play. We've gathered a lot of important feedback, which both Eugen and Peter cover in their texts. There are also VoDs of Gamescom live streams, some exciting Gamescom gameplay from our community, and more! Let's get to it.
Contents This Week
Dev Update/Eugen Dev Update/Peter Dev Update/Martin Community Spotlight Dev Update/Eugen
Gamescom DEMO has been an amazing experience for all of us. Being able to finally get direct feedback on 0.63 and talk to our old school players, or see the new ones playing it for the first time has made me more than a little happy. After getting this DayZ potential ready tech wise, we had a game to share, and talk about. It was exciting and exhausting. We are looking forward to sharing more.
At the same time, I have some less exciting news for you. As the build we brought to Gamescom would still take weeks to get ready for public testing, we will not be releasing the DEMO for Steam. We really wanted to, but it just no longer makes sense to spend time polishing a very small part of the whole BETA experience. Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive on the floor, and I do believe we are hitting the right notes on what BETA should feel like. Rather than releasing a DEMO, our goal is to get the BETA/0.63 update out as soon as possible in its entirety on Experimental branch when ready. That does not mean it's going to be rushed. We do believe that the only way out of this hellhole is a really good game that all of us want to play.
We are going to focus on the combat a little while longer to incorporate some of the good feedback that we got, as well as features missing from the DEMO that were cut before it was used on the show floor. There is still a lot of details to implement, or content to convert in that regard. Since we have only returned from Gamescom floor on Sunday late night, we plan to have an internal post-mortem first and get the team together to plan out the next month in detail.
However, as you may know, the scope of BETA is huge, and even though we have developed a lot of these features during the same time as technology, now it is time to put it all together. It’s a painful process, but the game is finally there. We are going to need a lot of balancing runs, polishing and bug fixing before we are happy to put it out. We will be reading the feedback on the details available and try and share with you more as we recover from the trip.
- Eugen Harton / Lead Producer
Gamescom 2017 has ended, so let my write down my impressions. At first, knowing all that stuff which was completely missing from the DEMO, or just in early prototype state, and all the remaining limitations we still needs to figure out, I was feeling a bit insecure about the quality of the DEMO build that we brought for showcase at the Gamescom booth. I'm a person who likes to have things in order, and as polished as possible, which leads to situations where I’m just not pleased enough with the current state of the game. So naturally, I was very curious how it's all going to turn out in the end.
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
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
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
By Baty Alquawen
Anyone here planning a trip to Gamescom? I want to meet you all!
If you haven't seen the program in the latest Status Report, here is it:
DayZ and Arma III part of our booth will be accessible for adults 18+ only.If you are not 18 yet, ou can come visit us at the community meet-up in front of our booth, talk with the devs and get some gifts. Community meet-up will take place on 25th August at 13:00 CEST, so don’t hesitate to come, we will be happy to see you. We have a really nice gifts for everyone :).
If you have any question about Gamescom - here I am.