Updated: Sep 17, 2018
We’re moving our experimental branch to default today. 0.6.19 will become 0.7.19. The update below will go over what we’ve been up to. Along with what has changed in 0.7 and what to expect in 0.8.
This is a big update for the team. We’ve said from the start that Survive the Nights would be as optimized as possible. We’ve kept optimization in mind while developing. We’ve also learned a lot since we started development. We’ve done our best to maintain a standard when it comes to keeping things optimized, however as always, things can slip. It’s not just a loss of attention, everyday the team learns something new. 0.7 focuses greatly on optimizations but it’s not only optimizing we’ve been working on. Quite a bit more has gone into the project backend wise and will require a great deal of testing. You’ll find our current changelog below, it’s a great way to hunt for bugs. As always please leave any issues on our tracker so we can get them fixed!
We’ve also spent a great deal of time focusing on quality of life improvements in game. From improved player spawns to containers showing a inventory preview in our small UI box. Below you’ll find a list of fixes, improvements and additions that have been made for 0.7. Below that, you’ll find some information about 0.8 and our plans for the future.
General Fixes and Improvements/Additions
Fix for game starting in windowed mode.
Fix for hidden servers not working correctly.
Reduced overall size on disk for game from approximately 10.5gb to 8.5gb.
Fixed broken UV's on low quality water.
Dead/Rag doll characters no longer fall through roads.
Fixed issue where not all items that should be spawning were being chosen.
Hospital specific props added.
Weapons now hide correctly when in placement mode.
Shooting locks no longer leaves a floating impact decal.
Own shadows now move up and down when looking around.
Machete now has weight.
Lock hasp and staple visualization no longer casts shadows.
Fixed issue where floating impact decals would be left after shooting a light bulb.
Updated light bulb smashing effect to make it look nicer.
Quality of Life Improvements
Improved initial player spawn locations to create a more immersive new character experience.
Containers now show item quantity and capacity directly in the hover UI which saves the player having to open all containers when searching for loot. Example - Quantity 2/10
Added reload complete notification which gives info about loaded ammo and remaining ammo in the inventory.
Reload and consuming actions are now considered finished when the animation is 80% complete. Previously the player could open the inventory and accidentally cancel an action when it appeared to be finished.
Can no longer open the menu while in the player list.
Added walk and sprint lock support. Press = key while holding either walk or walk and sprint key to lock input.
Server IP now displays as name for servers that don't have a name input.
Player no longer freezes when escape is pressed to gain access to the menu. This could result in players being frozen in mid air.
Re-added correctly working kitchen container locks which had been removed in the previous build due to issues.
Improved melee impact sounds including punches.
Pills in pill eating animation are no longer pink.
Inspect readout now correctly shows overall health instead of calories in the overall health section.
Hotkeys no longer work while in the map.
Hitting locks with melee weapons now deals damage to the lock.
Added ability to hit doors to damage locks. The first available lock will take damage.
Fixed issue where the player could be unlocked while still in the menu when pressing escape to close the terminal window.
Added battery requirements to descriptions of flashlights.
Optimized shader parsing during environment load which was causing spikes in performance.
Reduced memory garbage allocation associated with debug GUI in bottom right corner of screen.
Reduced memory garbage allocation when loading terrain environment.
Slowed the rate of world loading to prevent too many assets being set active in a single frame.
Improved scene unloading which could cause hiccups in fps.
Asset pre-loader added which pre loads assets during first load into game. Helps with large lag spikes caused by initial load of assets.
Enabled v-sync by default which limits frame-rate to 60fps and stops the GPU running at 100% usage unnecessarily.
Terrain in distance no longer casts unnecessary shadows.
Reduced waters overall GPU overhead.
A project wide review and optimization of over 3500 textures.
Removed some lag caused by player foot step sounds.
Improved performance to tree loading as the player moves around the environment.
Fixed large lag spike being caused by unnecessary reloading of terrain related textures.
Fixed lag spike being caused by premature destroying of terrains during world unloading.
Fixed lag spike being caused by unnecessary calculation.
Added two hospitals to the map and relevant surrounding design.
Fire station exterior design improved.
Added signs to police and fire stations.
Improved exterior design around police stations.
School desks now function as containers.
Several police and fire station specific props added.
New signage added for police station. Can be lit with electrics.
New signage added for fire department. Can be lit with electrics.
New red rolling garage door variant added for fire station.
New red door and frame variants for police and fire stations.
Fixed strange effect on carpark in terrain 8.
Fixed scenario where roofs could have snow on them when they shouldn't.
Outhouse toilet building loading distance fixed.
Tweaked position of police stations.
Designed hospital interior.
Added hospital building to the game.
Added Interior design to the fire station.
Added New floor material for the fire station.
Added design to the police station.
Church reworked and designed inside.
Added locker variants. School and armory types.
Reworked police station model.
Added meter and breaker to school building so that it can now be powered.
Added meters and breakers that were missing on buildings House_Wood_3_variant_3 and House_1_variant_1.
Fixed floating roads on terrain 27.
Fixed several materials in the finishing town that didn't have use effects.
Fixed missing material on truck docking area in large grocery store.
Engine Upgrade to Unity 2017!
After being in unity 5 for over a year, we felt with this update it was time to upgrade to newer version the engine. This will allow us to take advantage of newer features/optimizations and not fall behind on supported Unity builds. After extensive testing of the newest unity releases, we felt that Unity 2017 LTS (Long Term Support) offered the best upgrade and stability at this time. Listed below are some of the advantages of upgrading the engine.
Culling of shadows casters in 2017 has been optimized. This means there will be less objects casting shadows resulting in better performance. Improved filtering algorithms should also improve the look of the shadows as well.
Scene and Asset Bundle Improvements
The new unity update also includes improvements to the loading times of scenes and asset-bundles. These changes and several other small fixes we've made should help reduce the lag spikes when walking around in the world.
New tweaks to the particle system will allow us to create more realistic and optimized effects.
Staying on newer builds of unity keeps us up to date with the newest features and support.
0.8.x and What's to Come! We're very excited about our next update. The 0.8.x update will introduce our first iteration of window fortifications. The player will be able to attach fortification materials to window frames and door frames. We'll introduce the feature with multiple plank types along with sheet based materials such as plywood and corrugated tin. Below you can see the system in the works.
Ignore the blue highlight, that's backend stuff. The player will simply walk up to a window with the proper tool in hand and if they have the required fortification materials it'll come out and snap to the window.
The player here is switching (ignore textures) through plank types. Weak planks (harvestable via fences and wood piles) vs stronger planks crafted from felled trees. We'll also include sheet materials like tin/plywood.
Just a short example of how boards can be manipulated once snapped to a window frame. This should add quite a good deal of customization adding the ability to totally cover windows or create space for shooting/viewing.
Here's the mechanic a bit further along showcasing the on plank UI. This will let the player know exactly what type of plank they're adding, how strong it is and how many they have. If the player highlights an already placed plank, it will show the player that planks current strength and that they can add nails to improve it.
Aggressive AI, Traps and Trap Damage
Of course now that windows are fortifiable, zombies will have to get through them. Below is a gif of the logic going into making that happen. You'll notice our off navmesh link orbs in the gif, this allows the AI to move through the opening and it's part of our test scene. This is a showcase of the logic. Eventually zombies will come through openings in many ways with the addition of more animations.
Defensive traps will also be introduced in 0.8.x. With that in mind, work has been going into environmental damage. Below you can see both the player and a zombie taking fire damage. We've also smoothed out placement system, objects (traps included) will now follow the terrains contour on initial placement.
Smoothed object placement snapping to terrain regardless of it's angle.
The logic behind player damage via world objects like fire and traps are now working.
AI taking fire damage. We love the smell of burning zombie in the morning.
New Spawns and Points of Interest We've introduced new a new spawn point system in 0.7.19. We'll be slowly introducing points of interest at these spawns in the next couple of updates. The player should begin spawning near stuff making initial gameplay a bit more exciting.
Orange arrow is one of the spawns. All the green boxes are additional structures or design.
Just off a fresh spawn, small areas like the one above will also have road signs pointing towards the nearest towns.
Small Weekly Devblogs Some of you might have caught some of these screens and gifs in our DEVBLOG. We'll do our best to get smaller updates out every week (unless we're releasing a proper update like this). These updates will serve to provide our supporters with up to date information, showing some of what we've been up to each week.
We're Looking for Help!
As our last update mentioned, we've moved from our tiny closet of an office into a much larger and not so embarrassing space. We actually have the room to expand the team now and we're looking to do just that. If you are or know any programmers/unity developers looking for work in the UK please let us know. We're looking for like minded devs, the project is near and dear to us. The team is very small and being a team player is very important to us. If you'd like to send a CV to firstname.lastname@example.org please do so :)
As always, thank you very much for the continued support. The project is really starting to shape up and the team is very excited for the future. Feel free to drop into the Discord and talk with us one on one!