Major Update - April (Persistence | Quality | Future of STN)

Jayty here,


It’s been a while! We’ve been mega busy here in the studio. Version 1.16 has become somewhat of a milestone for us. We’ve been focused for so long on quality of life, overall player retention and generally trying to make the game something we can all be proud of.


Together with the community, we’ve created something cool. It’s taken a lot of grind and time but together we’ve finally produced a version of the game that feels like a ‘game'. Don’t get me wrong, there’s loads of improvements to be made.


From here we’re going to change things up again. The monthly updates have been amazing for analyzing how all of you are experiencing the game. It’s allowed us to refine the tutorial and iron out bugs without you having to wait 2 months between updates. The downside is that it puts a lot of pressure on our small team to bash out quality updates. Sometimes resulting in too many small fixes.


We’re going to draw a line under the game for now. v1.16 is stable and implements a lot of fixes that a lot of people have been waiting a long time for. Some are listed below but check out the changelog for more details.


The Plan

A long cycle update. We’re talking 4-6 months on this one. Something that brings in some big ticket features and a bunch of other fun stuff. Maybe we’ll leave Early Access around this time, maybe we won’t. Making STN has always been about producing the game that we and the community want to play, something that we’re 100% still dedicated to.


We’ve always shied away from the prospect of a publisher. We’re going to change that up now. A great publisher could work wonders for the public reception of the game. We’re not afraid to admit that we’re not the best at marketing. We try to put all our limited resources into making the game great. If you have any recommendations for publishers that would suit STN then please let us know. We’ll happily reach out and see if they’d be interested.


Vehicle fortifications, Melee overhauls, POI’s, Cloud servers, Character customization, Structure improvements and new vehicles/weapons/traps are just some of the big ticket things we hope to achieve in the next version. What are some of the features that all of you would like to see? Not everything will make the cut but we’re confident that we can deliver an update that gives our dedicated player base what they really want.


Major Changes in v1.16

Item decay

A long standing issue has been server stagnation. Especially since we added home setting. We’ve finally gotten around to implementing a decay system that gives all the persistence players need while also clearing up after players have moved on. This should make the experience more consistent overall.


It’ll mean that this update requires another DB reset (sorry). This feature lays down the foundation for no more after this point though. We’ll dedicate ourselves to proper DB management so that no more resets are needed unless absolutely essential.


Stunning

Players now get stunned by zombies. We’ve been constantly battling with the balance between zombie amounts, their difficulty and what incentivizes the player to progress from melee. We’ve landed on stunning. when the player gets hit, they’ll slow down slightly. This means that players need to be way more strategic when interacting with the higher amount of zombies the game now has.


Don’t worry though, there’s more ammo overall to counter this so progressing from melee should feel more natural and fun.


Zombie Behavior

This one is tougher than you might think. Even internally it can be difficult to all agree on how zombies should behave. We all have our favorite zombie movie, show or video game and there really isn’t one correct way for zombies to behave.


Over the past updates, we committed to getting the zombies outdoors during the day, having way more and making them varied speed. One thing we didn’t really adjust was their agro system.


Back when zombies were inside during the day, we needed to be really strict with their agro so that it felt balanced and you couldn’t draw too many at once. Some of you probably remember entering the original police station and drawing all 30 zombies out in one go. Now they’re outside, slow and in higher quantities it feels like triggering 1 should trigger more zombies in the area.


Zombies are now way more sensitive to the sound players are making. This means there’s a whole new element of strategy for the player to consider when interacting with large amounts of zombies.


PvP Improvements

You don’t even know how many times I’ve ‘accidentally' killed JB while we’re trying to hold down a house. It’s not my fault if he runs in front of my gun right!? Jokes aside, friends now have health bars so that you can help each other other out in desperate moments.


PvP damage overall has also been nerfed a bit because it was pretty savage in general. Other players still aren’t MMO boss level strong however. Meaning PvP remains a serious threat.


No More Compass

We used to rely heavily on the finding of the map and crafting of the compass. The game's got enough other features to no longer need that as a crutch. It’s more important that players can find each other when getting in game or know where they need to head after death. Players now have access to the map and compass always.


On a side note, we’ll be introducing a hardcore mode that involves proper hardcore survives. AKA no map/compass, lower starting health etc.


Metal Refineries

JB’s been working on design and has introduced a new set of metal factory type buildings over the map. These locations are super useful for finding scrap metal in large quantities. Something that’s going to be needed if you want to start crafting and using free placed forts. 15 new areas have been added in total. You can find them on the map by looking for the anvil/recycling icon.


Interaction Responsiveness

In this update we’ve focused on a lot of the mechanics that still felt clunky. Things aren’t perfect by any means but overall, things like fortifying or using placement mode shouldn’t feel as muted. This just makes general gameplay smoother. We’ll continue this refinement in all the updates to come.


Tutorial Improvements

This is dirty work. It’s not fun but very much needed to get people on board in the first place. We’ve made another set of changes to get players involved with the features the game has. They’re all listed in the changelog but mostly they focus on getting the players through to the fortifying and horde survival game loop.


For now, we’ll not focus on any more early game stuff. It’ll be mid game, fun stuff and fixes.


Overall Health Mechanic

Disclaimer: Still far from perfect! We’re dedicated to making the overall health principal work. We know that players want to develop their character over the duration of their life. It’s just a case of incentivizing it and properly communicating it to the player.


We’ve decided to increment the health and stamina gains in steps of 15 instead of 10. This gives the player more incentive to start managing their overall health. Additionally, we’ve lowered the starting calories requirement and increased the multiplier as the overall health raises. This will allow new life players to onboard with the overall health system much better than before.


Consumable Loot

A major issue with the game for the longest time has been the amount of consumable loot. It kinda made the improvement methods of preparing food pointless. The difficulty is that we want to make sure that new players can always find food.


We’ve nerfed consumable loot by almost 50%. To counter this for new players, we’ve nerfed the starting calorie requirements for the base overall health. This means that players need to find much less food when they first get started. On the opposite end, the calorie requirement multiplier is now higher as you raise overall health.


This change should mean that players naturally have to progress to hunting, growing and stewing to manage their increasing overall health.


Patch Notes - Alpha 1.16


HOTFIX 1.16.2


  • Updated translations from crowdin on 8th April.

  • Reduced consumables spawns by up to 50% in houses and similar structures.

  • Reduced the starting requirements for calories.

  • Increased the calorie requirements multiplier as overall health raises.

  • Health and stamina now goes up by 15 per overall health instead of 10.

  • Slight reduction in container loot to counter the removal of empty bottles.

  • Changed respawn mechanic to default to home spawns.

  • Simplified the respawn UI.

  • Reduced consumables spawns by up to 50% in houses and similar structures.

  • Reduced the starting requirements for calories.

  • Increased the calorie requirements multiplier as overall health raises.

  • Health and stamina now goes up by 15 per overall health instead of 10.

  • Empty bottles no longer spawning in containers.

  • Quote symbol doesn’t open the terminal while the chat is open.

  • Start fortification is the standard plank to save confusion when fortifying for the first time.

  • Improved the metal refinery map icon.

  • Fix for weapon equipping while driving when weapon was avoiding (being close to walls or hitting zombies while driving)

  • Quick guide now fades off as it animates offscreen.

  • Chainsaw no longer incorrectly spawning at tool spawn points

  • Metal refinery signs in correct position.

  • Added strengthening of fortification to the guide.

  • Added extra cooking step to the guide.

  • Improved wording in several areas of the guide.

  • Inventory Guide page UI improved.


Quality of Life


  • Removed various achievements that were no longer used.

  • Improved sleeping bag collider to allow placement closer to other items

  • Improved character slowing down when walking over small objects or steep slopes and stairs

  • Fix for issue where gun wouldn’t fire/aim/reload caused when close to zombies.

  • Fixed various admin commands that updated a users account.

  • Fixed not being able to equip weapons in vehicles when switching from the drivers seat to a passenger seat

  • Fixed player sometimes being able to equip a weapon while driving

  • Fixes for harvest machines being marked as harvested when harvesting with a full inventory

  • Lowered PVP damage overall.

  • Lowered PVP damage when damaging friends.

  • Fix for items being picked up on accident when trying to place items

  • Compass no longer requires an actual compass item in the inv.

  • New players now start with 80 health instead of 60.

  • Players no longer slow down as much when walking through bushes.

  • Improved sliding and jumping to fix players jumping up trees, power lines and steep cliffs.

  • Vehicles are no longer damaged when shooting out of them.

  • Reduced vehicle damage from small impacts at lower speeds.

  • Fixed weird highlighting on oceans and rivers in harvest water guide step


Drop / Placement mode Improvements


  • Interact Hold down made more consistent across different frame rates.

  • Interact hold time slightly reduced.

  • Loading circle more accurate and responsive when holding down interact.

  • Fix for spamming Inventory Full notification when trying to enter placement mode with a full inventory.

  • Items in placement mode now flush with the surface to improve placing experience.


Persistence


  • Added global decay system that cleans up all player related items when the player has not been active for extended period.

  • Fixed scenarios where disabled items would be carried over in to new versions.

  • Lowered the tree clean up loop from 500 to 200 trees.

  • Fixed issue with containers spawning disabled items.


Fortification


  • Fixed issue where fortifications can be placed inside of each other while fortifying.

  • Fortifying now more responsive overall.

  • Fixed clipping fortifications when planks go red while fortifying


AI


  • Fixed horde zombies not reaching player when moving away

  • Fix for zombies looking dark when dying outdoors

  • Increased general response to noise for zombies

  • Big increase in response to gun shots for zombies

  • Damage from zombies increased slightly

  • Fixed issue where zombies would sometimes hit the player when it didn’t look like they attacked


Animations


  • Fix for lids not popping off cooked cans


VFX


  • Baseball bat can now be used as a fire torch.

  • Baseball bat with nails can now be used as fire torch.

  • Fixed various effects intermittently not working (tree chopping effects)


SFX


  • Fixed scenarios where footstep sounds weren't working.

  • Added sounds when searching for items (wood/metal/cloth/AI).

  • Headshot sounds are no longer delayed.

  • Fixed zombie sounds cutting out when zombie dies


General


  • Players now get stunned by zombies.

  • Fixed issue where players can glitch into buildings when getting out of vehicle seat

  • Fix for placement mode not working in some large structures

  • Fires can now be trampled by AI and players. This reduces their exploitivity when being used as a trap.


Environment


  • Added metal refinery to terrain 51

  • Added metal refinery to terrain 19

  • Added metal refinery to terrain 35

  • Added metal refinery to terrain 58

  • Added metal refinery to terrain 26

  • Added metal refinery to terrain 11

  • Added metal refinery to terrain 61

  • Added metal refinery to terrain 28

  • Added metal refinery to terrain 45

  • Added Metal Refinery to terrain 23

  • Added metal refinery to terrain 21

  • Added metal refinery to terrain 53

  • Added metal refinery to terrain 39

  • Added metal refinery to terrain 56 (2)

  • Changed warehouse variant to Metal Refinery (scrap metal super source)

  • Fixed china cabinet collider to allow placement of sleeping bag next to it

  • Reduced tree amounts around towns and other dense areas to balance performance.

  • Fixed floating loot where coffee tables used to be.

  • Added fire places to all structures that were missing them.

  • Added scrap harvest throughout the world.


Particles


  • Fixed concrete particles when shooting road surfaces.

  • Fixed small objects clipping into the road when dropping.


Drops


  • Pliers, wrenches and screw drivers can now be found at hardware stores.

  • Maps should no longer spawn.

  • Compass disabled (The player now has this by default)

  • Disabled various drops that didn't have a purpose.


UI


  • Fix for menu toggles staying selected after closing them

  • Fix for notification sometimes saying you picked up wood when inventory is close to full

  • Added health requirements to quick guide steps

  • Improved “Survive the Night” step

  • Fortification fonts updated to match other UI.

  • Notification when picking up a log now displays the amount of wood picked up.

  • Removed incorrect notifications about empty bottles when searching for water

  • Disabled automatic help video popups.

  • Added health bar in name tag for friends