Devblog #37 - An Update from Jayty

Friday 16th April


Hey everyone. It’s been a long time since I’ve written an update! We’ve decided that this week I’ll do the update since it will cover mostly things I’ve been working on... That and JB’s garage roof has fallen in and is leaking all over…


Everything is ticking along nicely here at a2z HQ. We’re back in the studio now which allows for a greater creative environment! The guys have done an amazing job working from home however it’s simply not possible to bounce off each other in the same way as when we’re all in the same office.


There’s been a flurry of exciting new developments which we’re so eager to showcase. Some of which will be summarized below. There’s always so much going on and we’re constantly trying to develop our workflows so that JB can effectively deliver all the goodies in these weekly updates.



Streamlabs



We’ve had an awesome opportunity to engage with well known content creator Generikb. We used to watch his content back in our Minecraft days. When he reached out to us about Streamlabs integration for STN, it seemed like a no brainer. Generikb has a developer that he collaborates with to create mods. These allow his viewers to manipulate gameplay and create rich engagement. We pretty much immediately decided that it would make more sense to just add this feature directly to the game. Doing so will allow more control over gameplay than a mod can with the added benefit that it would be in place to use for any streamer, 1 or 100,000 viewers.


STN UI for Authentication

In theory, it should be as simple as clicking ‘Authorize’. Once Authorized, the game can read event data from Streamlabs. The way I’ve implemented this means that it fully wraps our already tried and tested commands and permissions systems. This means that providing the streamer has the correct permissions, any combination of commands can be triggered based on Streamlabs alerts.

Web Browser Streamlab Auth Page.

This method of implementing also means that in order to add to Streamlabs features, all we need to do is add new commands! Streamer wants some crazy feature when they get raided? No problem! All we need to do is set up a new command and the rest can be handled by the Streamlabs interface.

Main UI

We feel that this is a great opportunity to have some shared benefits from playing Survive the Nights. When streamers play the game, it gives us more exposure which ultimately supports revenue. The more revenue we generate the faster we can bring features to the game. We think it’s awesome that streamers will be able to leverage the game to also benefit themselves! Some potential use cases are shown below.


Choice of companion when someone donates with the donators nametag?
Spawn zombies when someone subs with subbers name?
A chicken for every viewer from a raid?

Name Tags


Name tags have been worked on for this update for a few different reasons listed below.



  • There’s been a long standing issue where they don’t always face the player. Whenever I see this in-game or on a YouTube video it makes me cringe badly. It’s never been a pressing issue since there’s always bigger fish to fry. I decided to get it fixed (hopefully) while making some other neat functionality changes.


  • We had added an area under the name tag for displaying the players level way before we ever had player leveling. That’s now all hooked up and you’ll be able to see other players levels displayed under their name.


  • Supporter pack! As JB mentioned in the last Dev blog, we’re planning on introducing a Patreon for community members that want to support the team beyond the purchase of the game. This is something we’ve been toying with for ages but never really been able to settle on.


We’ve decided that Patreon is the way to go. We had a great meeting with them and they’ve convinced us that their platform is right for our community. That being said we want to add value for our potential contributors without adding any game ruining features (screw pay to win).


Name tags will now be able to show a small text above the username showing information about a user extra contributions to the project. This will toggle in the menus for those who want to remain anonymous in-game. There will be a bunch other rewards via Patreon but this is one example of a visual only reward.


Ideas for Patreon Supporters

Connectivity


While we don’t have a perfect solution right now, I wanted to take the opportunity to talk about connectivity issues. From Inception, Survive the Nights was always meant to be a game with PvP and to be played on open public servers hosted by ourselves or by people with knowledge on more advanced topics like port forwarding.


As the development has progressed, we felt that it would be wrong to not offer the most requested feature of solo and self hosted servers. With our last update, we released a pretty seamless solo experience. The self hosting, however, leaves a little to be desired simply because it’s not a 1 click solution.


In 1.8 or soon after, a part solution called UPnP will be utilized via Open NAT which will help a lot of players with automatic port forwarding. This won’t solve everyone's issues since automatic port forwarding isn’t supported by some routers and in others it just doesn’t work as expected. That change combined with slightly sleeker UI and things like automatic IP and port assignment should make things a bit easier for around 50% of players.


However it’s wrapped, firewalls and port forwarding is a ball ache and something that we want to streamline for all of you. It’s on our radar and in the near future I will implement a solution with 1 click self hosted servers that can be connected to by your friends without all the hassle.

Host Tab

Post version 1.8


The design update is really exciting for us! It will bring the graphics up to date and reflects our own development in terms of what we’re able to achieve. That being said, everyone is super excited to get finished up on the update and get it released. We have a lot planned for the future versions of the game but in the shorter term... probably Alpha version 1.9 and 2.0 we’ll be focusing on early game and quality of life fixes.


We all feel it’s time to tie up the loose ends. As nice as it is to just develop freely and work on cool features, the game needs to work nicely and have good retention for early game. That will allow the community to grow with less friction. Some of the things we’re going to address are listed below however a lot aren’t. I can’t stress enough how helpful it would be if you could let us know what your biggest frustrations are.

  • Swimming

  • Tree cutting

  • Tutorial and UI learning curves

  • Game stutter and lag spikes that bring the framerate to 0.

  • Structure management (Zombies/items spawning in bases)

  • Character movement. - getting stuck on stuff, jumping over items etc.


Summary


Overall it’s been business as normal here. Andre is pushing through with the design update with support from Jos. John is hard at work tweaking and improving animation related mechanics for the future. I’m working on broken bits and pieces and larger implementations for the future.


In terms of 1.8, we’re hoping to have it with you very shortly. We’re very excited to show somewhat finalized ‘before and after’ shots however we’re committed to not doing that until we know for sure that what is shown is what you will receive.


The last 10% of any update is always the most difficult part. Rest assured that we’re working through the little problems that will hopefully resolve any new issues creeping into the build.


Stay safe everyone! Remember that you can always contact any of the team via discord however for general support, JB is your man. His work with the community allows us to focus 100% on improving the game.


Jayty