In this Development Report, we'll delve into the latest Environment Update, highlighting its notable features such as the addition of birds, insects, 2D map markers, and more. Additionally, we'll provide insights into our upcoming plans for the game.
Starting with our latest release, Environment Update. This update has introduced numerous changes, fixes, and features, changing the environment into a more immersive and authentic one. Watch the trailer to get a picture.
Now, let's explore what is new, what changed, and what to expect.
The environment has become more interactive with the addition of ambient bird features:
Various bird species now spawn on trees, covering most of the map.
They can be startled by events in their vicinity, causing them to take flight.
After a while, they will settle back in.
The events that trigger bird reactions are diverse, including vehicle engines, honking horns, weapon fire, explosions, and even loud footsteps.
Birds do not distinguish between factions, players, and AIs.
We want to elaborate on the reactivity of the birds further. They are finely attuned to potential AI danger events that may provoke their response. These events encompass:
Gunshots and explosions can immediately send them into flight.
Movement of players or AIs, causing them to become alert and cautious.
Players or AIs operating vehicles, can startle them and prompt them to take off.
The sound of vehicle horns is a loud and sudden noise that may prompt a swift reaction from the birds.
Whenever a pertinent in-game event occurs in the code or script, it can relay a "DangerEvent" message to the AI agents that are actively listening. It's worth noting that not all of the available agents may be applicable in every scenario. It's important to emphasize that these events aren't directly generated by specific sounds. Instead, they typically arise from events in the code, such as a player hitting the horn button, which triggers both the sound and the dispatch of a "VehicleHorn" message to the AIs.
Furthermore, it's important to note that not every passing car or moving soldier will necessarily set off these events. There's a specific logic in place within the behavior tree (BT) and code to govern this.
It's also important to note that there's a system in place that manages the birds' "spawn points". This system operates on a grid-based structure, with the designated green pole serving as the primary spawning location, and the red circle marking the distance at which they're removed from the game. Unless you physically relocate, they'll remain stationed at that specific tree persistently. Consequently, if they're triggered, they'll take flight, return to their designated area, and can be triggered once more.
As demonstrated in the video above, when shifting the position and returning, a different tree is chosen as the new selection.
The birds follow predefined flight paths with randomized orientations, and there is a limited number of these paths.
Additionally, the wind factor alters the curvature of the trajectory. The path they fly looks different even from the same spot.
The flight patterns and flock behavior are generated through code, granting you the flexibility to adjust bird prefabs, alter their quantity (potentially resulting in a larger flock, as depicted), and fine-tune their speed, among other parameters.
Bees are spawned around beehives and occasionally you can spot them in meadows or forests.
Butterflies are mostly found in meadows, and they occasionally flutter around lakes.
Flies typically inhabit areas near garbage bins, manure piles, and latrines.
Fireflies may misguide you at night in the forests.
Moths fly around light sources at night and sometimes bump into them.
Mosquitoes produce sounds that you might enjoy near water and during the night.
2D Map Markers
The 2D map has been enhanced with a new marker system which is now utilized by first two features:
Squad leader markers of your faction will now be visible within map and periodically update their position, helping you get a better understanding of what is happening on the battlefield.
Map contextual menu now allows you to create a custom marker or select from a pool of predefined military markers to help you communicate with your team or mark points of interest for yourself. The custom markers will get their interface improved in the near future, which will expand their customization options and streamline their placement.
Simplifying player navigation on the map. By implementing these trails, players can easily find their way around Everon, making their exploration more enjoyable and immersive.
Taking the player to interesting places that are off the main routes and encourage them to explore.
Authenticity according to the real model (Czech tourist signs).
New recreational props
Recreational prop set (caravan, tents, diving board, water slide, pedal boats, etc.)
A couple of new locations with these props - 3 small sites in the mountains and on the coast updated swimming pool in the middle of Everon.
Update of interior props in MountainHotel "Hornik".
Added Murals and Graffiti on the walls of houses.
New posters and announcements on bulletin boards and indoors.
Added warning lighting for tall objects.
New color variants for large churches.
Improved materials (textures) of existing houses.
Downloading now accurately calculates the size difference between mod versions. The download progress and mod sizes should now be displayed correctly. Alongside patch size calculation, several fixes have been implemented to address various issues, and improvements have been made to download speed and stability.
Looking back to previous releases since the last Dev Report, we mostly put out Experimental updates, namely 0.9.9.83, 0.9.9.87, and 0.9.9.95. With the exception of a 0.9.9.62 minor update that focused on Enfusion Blender Tools, among other things, and introduced a lot of game fixes.
In this section, we will go through some planned features and improvements that you can expect in the future.
SCR_ParticleEmitter has been made obsolete and it has been replaced by ParticleEffectEntity. SCR_ParticleEmitter will be removed in the next major update, so don't forget to update your mod accordingly.
Proxy vehicle improvements
Proxy vehicles on the client will no longer simulate, only lerp and teleport. This removes vehicle shaking, improves performance, and reduces traffic:
Lastly, there was some work done on the compression of proxy vehicle signals. This means that there will be no "to the naked eye" difference, while only sending ~1/3rd of the traffic.
Vehicles will have their collision shapes merged into one object. It means that objects added via hierarchy to some other object will now have a proper collision as well while improving performance.
Preloading of replicated entities and streaming improvements
In the future, streaming will be possible without possessing a character, meaning map markers will be visible during deployment. Lastly preloading of replicated entities at a given position will allow for a smoother spawning process.
We started to do public playtests and to the general liking, it seems! If you would be interested in giving it a go with our devs and other players, keep a close eye on our Arma Platform Twitter. We plan more!