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Devblog 38 - Reflections, Website Changes ++

Friday, April 23rd

Hello everyone, we’ve spent the week working on quite a few features for 1.8 and beyond. Some of you might be new here. If so, please consider joining our Discord if you’d like to chat directly to the team.

Reflections and Their Challenges

A proper reflection system is something we’ve struggled with in the past. We’ve had what can be described as a makeshift system in place for some time. Reflections have always been difficult to pull off properly due to our day and night cycle system and its effect on interior ambient lighting. Our new reflection system is now properly simulated in real time based on different times of the day and the reflection probes created. Reflections will also be dimmed in interiors so as to not stand out. The results look rather fantastic, they’ll be part of our new Ultra graphic setting. Below are few examples of our old system and our new reflection system on high and ultra.

The system uses a real time reflection probe and dummy assets to create a realistic looking reflection probe perfectly suitable for most situations. This system also goes hand in hand with our new water shaders, a massive improvement over the last. You’ll see a little sneak peek here in some screenshots. We’ll showcase the new water system in next week's devblog.

Reflection Probe

A lot of our island will require custom probes to allow for more accurate reflections. The one below showcases one of our large lakes and Mount Baron's reflection.

Lake Reflections

The new ultra settings will allow for very accurate reflections not just in lakes and large bodies of water but smaller ones like puddles and wet roadways after storms. This system is optimized rather well. It includes a probe manager that ensures only 1 real time probe will ever be baked at the same time. It will also disable a probe and stop the baking process should the player move too far from the source. The biggest difference between the new high and ultra reflections is addition of an image effect on ultra resulting in an even more realistic reflection.

Old Reflection System

New Reflections on High Setting

New Reflections on Ultra Settings

Hosting Changes and Improvements

The introduction of our hosting/solo tabs came with 1.7 and we’ll be working the issues out as we move forward. As James mentioned in last week's blog, we’re working on a partial solution for connection issues. This is something that should help a good deal of those. If the UPnP OpenNAT system doesn’t automatically fix your hosting issues, we’ll have a better idea as to what’s going wrong. If the UPnP system proves to not be effective enough, we’ll add a facilitator based punch through server. A facilitator server along with relay servers should make connections possible even when punch through just isn’t.

James has made some great progress this week streamlining the process and UI surrounding it.

Upon digging into the UPnP rework, he decided to further expand the implementation to give the user more feedback around port status. We’ve simplified the setup and removed the need to infill the IP manually. We’ve created a port checker that is embedded directly in the UI to check if ports are open before attempting to start and join a server.

Below you’ll notice improvements to last week's design, along with the addition of a friend list you’ll be able to invite buddies directly from the host screen!

Updated Host Tab with Friends List

Website and Forum Changes

I think it’s fair to say that we’re a rather open team. Most of you know a lot about the project and us. We share our development progress regularly with our goal being weekly devblogs. The Survive the Nights Forum has treated us well, it was our very first platform for speaking with everyone. With that being said, it is now rather dead with more focus on Steam and Discord. We’ll be removing our forums to save a few bucks and condense the sources of information. The website has been redesigned over the last week or so with Jos making many needed improvements. This includes a much cleaner “Blog” section. This will now be our main resource for getting you devblogs and information. That being said, we’re always available for a chat on Discord.

New Website Layout

In Summary

It has been another productive week at the office. The team is refreshed and glad to be back together. The 1.8 update will bring pretty drastic changes to the project. The time put in now will save headaches later although we’re sure there will always be issues. We’ll do our best to scrub out the larger ones before we hit default. Please keep in mind, our development isn’t always linear as we’re not always able to work on the same issue or feature. There’s constant development. We’re working on things now you’ll see in the next update and things you’ll not see for a few updates. Moving forward we’ll do our best to share more early stage development information and media if that’s something the community is interested in. Thank you all for the continued support. If you’re enjoying the game please consider leaving a review and if you’re having any issues remember you can always reach us on Discord.


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