Dear DayZ players,
There is a lot of commotion in the office as we get near our first 0.63 public stress test (which I will talk about more today and share details of why and how we are approaching this step, and what should be the outcome for both you, the players, and us - the developers). Besides the obvious focus to get things into public hands for testing, we are dealing with issues related to weapon collisions with environment and zombies. While also working on climbing and jumping to make traversing through the environment a much better experience.There is a lot to cover in the coming weeks, and we are looking at the missing pieces, as well as pushing for the level of polish we want to achieve before we finally move 0.63 to the Experimental branch of DayZ on Steam.
0.63 Stress Tests
As we've mentioned during our 0.63 Dev Live Stream, the initial releases of 0.63 will take the form of time-limited, focused stress tests. To differentiate these stress tests from the more traditional Experimental testing phase, we'll create a completely new "Stress Test" branch of DayZ on Steam, which anyone of you will be able to switch to, and play on test servers provided by us.
Once 0.63 gets ready and releases on the Experimental branch, this option will be gone, but we expect to have more than one of these stress tests happening in the next couple of weeks, so you might get a chance to hop in early and test the game in a limited capacity.
Our main goal with stress tests is to test server load and see the number of players we can handle on one server. These stress test can both happen very often, or there might be some delay between them. We will be auto collecting logs and servers crashes for further analysis, as well as profiling the server performance. A big chunk of the work will go into making sure we get lots of data to sort through and evaluate.
We will announce the time of each stress test on our social media channels so that you can prepare at least a little bit ahead of time. Besides the timeline of availability, we will try and provide you with a list of things that we've assigned the highest priority for getting feedback on.
I know a lot of data miners are going to look into everything we've done with the game, as there is tons of work in progress features hidden inside the client data, possibly including some not yet covered details that may cause a little bit of premature excitement. While we totally expect that this will happen, we will be, however, pointing our focus towards a more limited set of things at one time in these tests. For the first test, we will try to take a close look at the new implementation of gunplay and player synchronization.
You will be spawning in a much more concentrated manner on selected locations in Chernarus, already equipped with basic gear that we have ready for testing. Many things in those builds will still be either disabled completely or not spawning. On the other hand, we will try and increase the player numbers per server to see how far we can go. It's going to be a bit of a bloodbath, that's for sure!
For the first bunch of stress tests, there will be a limited time window, with a limited number of items spawning, and also with a somewhat limited functionality so that the data we are collecting is helpful. We are at a point where we need your help, your feedback. It's necessary for us to move forward, and to make sure that when the game goes live for everybody, it’s as consistent and reliable as it can get. For now, there will be broken animations, bugs and different annoying details that we know about. However, I cannot state how important for us it is to start testing now, and not wait any longer. Some of the issues we might encounter will take some time to solve, and will only be able to be reproduced in the high traffic environment of public testing.
Now to answer the question why we do so with a limited feature set and in a limited time window: any data collection past the initial findings and blockers is diluting the effectiveness of such efforts. Problems can be hiding in layers - as you fix one, another appears because with the first problem in its way, it never had a chance to occur. We think we know about a lot of them - if not most - but we realize there is more to do. It's going to be fun either way - we are ready to face this head on, and roll fixes in quickly. Ramping up our communication both ways is an important part of the process that's coming both during stress tests and in Experimental.
For feedback, videos are one of the best mediums for us to understand what’s happening, so if you have a chance to share them with us on the Feedback Tracker and the DayZ forums, they are more than welcome! We'll talk about this when we release the notes for each stress tests, but as mentioned, we will mostly be looking for inconsistencies in player movement and gunplay. You'll definitely experience a lot of weird inconsistencies or bugs with things like melee, environment actions, or crafting, but we're working on those, and these just require time, but meanwhile, we can already run tests on those focus areas that will help us move forward faster.
As for when do we start those stress tests - again, as mentioned in the Live Stream, we were looking at the initial releases of 0.63 as something that's weeks, not months away. It's been two weeks since the Live Stream now, and so it goes without saying that we'll all get to some testing rather soon!
Keep following us on Twitter, Facebook, and our Forums to be notified when a stress test goes online!
- Eugen Harton / Lead Producer
Over the course of the last couple of weeks, we have worked on several smaller tasks and features such as swimming, footsteps in water, ladder climbing, user action and fireplace sounds.
We've also finished the work on the interior controller for weapons and character sound. Now we can have different tails for indoor shooting, reloading magazines of footsteps. Indoor ambient sounds are still in progress.
For next few weeks, we will be focusing on melee fight. We will re-design sounds for attack animations and also make many new melee hit sounds.
- Filip Čenžák / Sound Designer
In case you haven't noticed, we skipped the last Status Report and we broadcasted a Live Stream of the 0.63 build instead, with dev commentary. And we are really happy with your feedback, thank you for that! We are improving our streaming skills and we are hoping to stream more often in future, to share our DayZ development goals with you!
If you missed the stream, we exported it to our YouTube channel and you can watch it here:
Part of our team was attending GDC last week, where we've met with a bunch of journalists at a closed event organized by ID@Xbox - to all of them, we've presented a short Staroye DEMO of DayZ on Xbox One. People who tried it were amazed by how smooth the game runs, and how good it feels. Here is a short video of the press event on Tuesday:
If you are sad you couldn't have tried it at GDC, we have another chance for you to get your hands on our DayZ Xbox demo! We are going to PAX East in Boston next week and we will be there ready for you from Thursday 5th to Sunday 8th at the Xbox booth.
I know you always have questions about the console versions! I chose the three hottest ones:
Are you developing DayZ for Xbox One X only?
No, we’ll be releasing on all Xbox One consoles, and on PlayStation 4 as well!
How about the frame rates on Xbox One X?
It’s all work in progress, but we’re already peaking at 50-60 FPS in 1080p on Xbox One X, and we plan to support 4K@30 FPS. We’ll see where we end up though!
Will there be cross-platform between platforms?
That’s unlikely - while it’s perfectly viable from the technology perspective, we’d rather not mix PC and console players because it would cause a noticeable disbalance in gameplay.