First Experimental Build

So we’ve moved over to Unity 5 and onto our first experimental build 🙂

For instructions on how to opt into the experimental builds, see here:
http://steamcommunity.com/app/313120/discussions/6/613958868350181331/

The builds are only for 64-bit Windows and OSX operating systems. We’d love to get feedback on whether the move to U5 and some changes has alleviated loading problems (10-15 mins) for Yosemite users.

There’s also now a dedicated experimental sub-forum here:
http://steamcommunity.com/app/313120/discussions/6/

I mentioned in the last update, that we were doing a lot of custom stuff in Stranded Deep. Well the upgrade broke a lot of it! 😛 We had a few problems that delayed last week’s release. There’s a problem with the way we manually batch our materials through code with Unity 5. The bug has been reported but for now there’s no item highlighting. We also had a collider related problem with the new physics system that borked the yellow raft, so enjoy your free wooden one 😛

One of the things we wanted to address with the upgrade to Unity 5 was the UI. In particular, the UI performance. The system we were using previously was great, but a bit of a performance hog. Unity now have a nice native UI system now. So last week was spent getting up to speed and switching over to the new UI system. It’s much better for performance, as it should be being built into the engine, but the feature set isn’t as comprehensive as our old UI system. So a fair amount of time had to be invested creating controls and widgets for the new UI that we used previously. A lot of time was also spent making sure it was setup in a manner that’s nice and scalable for the future. If anything needs to change or be added, it’s a simple matter of dragging a new control or group in and it will automatically layout everything correctly. So as of 0.04.E1, the main menu is running on the new UI. All of the in-game UI is yet to be converted.

You’ll see there’s a few pre-emptive settings in the audio menu. These will be implemented when we take another pass at the audio system. Unity 5’s got a few new audio tools we need to check out.

We’ve just started to integrate Speedtree for better trees and foliage. One of the things that’s not immediately apparent about the Speedtree integration in Unity is that there’s no official physically based shader set for them. So you have a great scene full of shiny PBR materials and trees that stand out like you know what. All the trees and foliage look horrible right now. We’re on it and trying to get it sorted out asap.

All in all, we’re seeing a nice performance boost with the upgrade. We’ve moved to a fully deferred renderer now. Garbage savings from new UI system and the new multi-core physics system is helping smooth things out too. Freeing up all these precious milliseconds mean we can spend them on more important things like effects, more complex AI, etc.

We’re also finalising plans for the new terrain system and world. We’re really excited with where it’s all heading. It’s also going to be perfect for community mods. We’ll be filling you in in a future post once we’ve got it all figured out.

So that’s it this week, till next time!
Stay Alive!
:: Beam Team

 

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18 thoughts on “First Experimental Build

  1. the_helmet says:

    Hi,

    Transition well done! Looks even nicer I think. I like that the islands comes in more smoothly than before – even though it still difficult to navigate since distance and shapes seem very similar. Hope to see bigger variations in islands. Some really big and some small – some arrid and some with water.

    Also hunger seems to be a bigger issue than thirst. But actually water should be a much bigger issue, what I hear (have never been really dehydrated nor starving).

    Somehow it’s a tad too easy now. Would like to see that traveling between islands entails some risk of failure and struggle due to wind and waves.

    Anyways – you have really proved your selves! I don’t envy you trying to please a mixed crowed!

  2. Chance says:

    Thirst would always kill before hunger. Especially in the tropics of stranded deep. People have survived 7 days or more without food depending on fat reserves. But people can only survive 3 without water. Great game I love it and love the potential!

  3. Toby says:

    Any eta on when this will be getting out of early access

  4. Josh says:

    Well I am opted in for the beta yet no new experimental build or version of Stranded Deep was installed… Why is that? I checked my settings and they are all set to receive beta access yet I am still loaded into the 0.03 H3 build… What do I have to do to get it to install the experimental build?… Kinda hard to opt in if steam won’t even do what my settings are set to do… I really wanna support this game but its kinda hard when I can’t test out the newest stuff.

  5. Josh says:

    False alarm… Stupid steam didn’t save my changed settings… I have the experimental build now. Wish me luck!!!

  6. Josh says:

    Well that was a fast test… new main menu is crap… the watch doesn’t even show anything but a grey screen and nothing else… the island I started on was too covered in bushes and way smaller than any other Island I’ve been to… the only good thing I can honestly say about this experiment is that the graphics and frame rate was much better than the previous versions… A couple updates and tweaks along with adding the old main menu and this game would be alot more fun to play… Also, any chance we’ll get some music similar to the old main menu theme that played before this experimental build… alot of themes and music like that would be a great intensifier for the players and would make the game much less boring.

  7. spraycanmansam says:

    Hi Josh,
    Could you tell me what you’re not happy about with the new menu?
    Also, it goes without saying that the experimental build is just that – highly experimental and will be buggy.

  8. chance says:

    the main menu did not show for me but when i click ware the new game buttens was I was able to play. watch did not work for me ether.

  9. Odobenus159 says:

    I know that the move to Unity 5 is pretty difficult, so let me be one of the first to say thank you! I have been following since before you had anything tangible to show us, so I was disappointed when I started to play and got constant stutter.

    Your move to Unity 5 has completely solved my stutter issues as well as gave me increases from 50 to 55 FPS in demanding physics situations. This is no doubt this is because of the better multi-threaded support in Unity 5. (AMD 6 core)

    Stay Alive, Odobenus159

  10. Josh says:

    Very true about your replying comment to the experimental build. I did not want to go into detail about what was wrong with it or anything because I did not have time to fully check for what was and wasn’t wrong with the experimental build at that moment in time. Tonight however was a different story. I will start with what I liked about the good things (upgrades in the experimental build) that weren’t in the previous build before I list off some bugs and stuff I dislike about the experimental build. The whole look of the game was simply much clearer than before and the frame rate was greatly improved. The sky, clouds, water, islands, rocks on the islands, ship wrecks and being underwater looks are much prettier than before. The loading time in between island areas where it shifts from one part of the data to another is much better and there is way less drops in frame rate. The build (OMG) was so much better. There was no more lag from having too much sticks or other items in one area. There was no after lag when you continuously built onto the same structure. Simply Perfect! Also, you couldn’t have done any better making the islands just a tad bit bigger than they were before. That little more room on land really helps for choosing a good spot when choosing to place a fire or to start building your home. Awesome job there! The tree climbing mechanics are fixed for me as well. Before I had to look up to climb up then turn around and look down and away from the tree before I could climb down. Now I just have to walk forward and backwards to climb up and down trees with no problem. The rowing mechanics are alot smoother and nicer than before also. I will now go into some bugs and things I dislike about the experimental build starting from the more obvious things to the not so obvious and I will start with the menu. I have absolutely no problem with the new menu except for a few small things. When you just start the game or press Escape to go into the menu it pops up it is in an awkward position. It looked better being in a little smaller text and closer to the bottom right where it originally was before. The animation of the Stranded Deep brand waving in the background would be lovely to have back in the experimental build. Another issue I was having with both menus though was that when it listed in the graphics all the settings it would overlap words and arrows causing them to be clumped together and a little hard to make out when changing my settings but other than what I’ve just described to you I have no arguments to the changes that were made and added to the experimental build menu. The swimming mechanics were quite slower than the previous build. It makes it much harder now to dodge incoming shark attacks and to dive down to somewhat deep shipwrecks due to the slower swim speed. When I found the flippers it was much better but it felt like getting the flippers just increased my swim speed to the regular swim speed in the previous build. The previous swim speed was much more efficient and allowed us to dive down to a ship wreck and properly search through and gather everything we wanted in 1 or 2 breathes when in the experimental build it took me double the breathes to search a ship wreck that wasn’t really that far away from the surface. The steps on the ship wrecks above water level were buggy but that wasn’t unexpected. The watch was buggy and just had a grey screen but again that too was not unexpected considering it was the 1st release of the experimental build. The lighting coming off the trees and grass were really bright and made it difficult to find some rocks on the ground but that also is just a little texture, contrast and/or pixel bug or bugs that wasn’t unexpected. I noticed on some videos and forum posts that players were able to have multiple saves on their game but I wasn’t. It was probably just a bug that was still being looked at when or around the time you obtained the Unity 5 engine. Aside from the bugs and what I disliked in the experimental build I thought I was an absolute thrill to see a lot of the bugs I was having before gone. I really hope you guys plan to use the Unity 5 engine to complete the game and continue on with whatever it is you have planned for the future of Stranded Deep! I really look forward to an update on the experimental build so that I may further continue my adventure through the beautiful world and do a lot more than I have done tonight. I can’t wait to see what new features you add to the game after bugs and other issues are sorted out. Super glad to have added my input on the game performance thus far and I hope it helps in the development of future updates. I was a little scared of losing my old save by opting into the experimental build but after what I’ve seen I couldn’t really care about losing my save to a new update or experimental build. I’ll love playing this game no matter what and I wish you guys the best of luck and may your days ahead be grand and virtuous. I apologize for my review being so long but I felt you would better understand my thoughts better if I explained fully.

    ——-> Until your next response and/or your next post

    ————————– Josh

  11. Josh says:

    On a 2nd note after going into the island hopping a little further I noticed the palm leafs on the trees were doubled. I know its a new engine but if you downsized the amount of palm leafs on the top of the trees by about half or just under half it would great improvement to the performance and increase the quality of the texture and looks of the islands. It would be a big help to the players with lower processing computers and such. The windows on the doors of the ship wrecks are purple rather than see-through also but not unexpected. After climbing a couple more trees too I discovered that it still is hard to keep your grip on the tree when climbing down while looking at the tree. Seeing as how the islands are bigger it would be nicer to have maybe less tall trees and more shorter trees. Less plant life and more sand on the islands would also be a good change considering its still kinda difficult to find all the rocks on an island especially the smaller islands with little sand and mainly plant life and non usable trees. The Bubbles are probably the biggest improvement out of all the changes made in the experimental build… before I couldn’t spot a ship wreck around the islands to save my life and now they are easier to spot. It makes me want to travel more around my home island in search of items and tools. The walking and running speeds could also be a little sped up to match the speed of the old build as well. Now I believe that is all I have to say about the experimental build so far. I can’t wait to see where Stranded Deep goes! Best of luck!

    P.S. In between these review posts I was fighting a shark and when it came torpedo charging toward me and I saw it and was able to dodge at the last second I literally almost jumped out of my skin. My whole computer table shook. Haha!! That rush I got is the reason why I will stick with you guys until the bitter end. Thank you for making me feel alive!!!

  12. Anonymous says:

    I have some ideas that i think would create a more exciting environment for the days spent on Stranded Deep whilst adding some new survival elements. I wasn’t sure where to put them, so i guess i’ll put them here.

    New ideas –
    -Birds, edible + feathers.
    -Bow & arrows. Utilize feathers to make arrows, will be a challenge to cull the first bird.
    -Backpack. lashing can and has been used to make many backpacks.
    -Storage chest/crate for the raft
    -1/2 size foundation, roofs, walls, supports.
    -Character Shadow.

    Improvement Ideas –
    -a pickax or the ability to break rocks from boulders with a hammer.
    -turn the useless trees into trees that can be harvested for sticks or medicine.
    -turn the shrubs into edible and/or poisonous berry bushes.
    -ability to cull sharks with spear from raft when close.

    Looking forward to the future of Stranded Deep, Keep up the good work Devs.

  13. Josh says:

    Lol you already can kill a shark with a spear from on the raft. I’ve done it quite a few times and I almost killed a Marlin too but it got scared and swam away too fast. I also don’t think they will put bow and arrows in the game when there is already going to be a spear gun. Ya sure its not added to the game yet but give them time. As they fix the more important bugs early in the game they will be able to add more content in the future without having to worry about so much at once. Birds does sound pretty cool but the backpack idea kinda retards the point of having an inventory. I do agree that there isn’t quite enough inventory space and I’m sure they already know about it from the steam forums and plan on doing something. The pickax is kinda pointless as well considering we can just pick up the rocks and smash them on the ground where ever or throw them into the air really high to break them down. The useless trees dropping sticks to be scavenged would be awesome along with a small chest of some kind on the rafts that you can build or at least make it to where we can build a somewhat bigger raft using more than one foundation along with making the rafts more buoyant with items on them or maybe just one or the other. Although a small list of good ideas but good calls all around Anonymous

  14. Anonymous says:

    Will I be able to opt in/out at will? Or once I opt in, that’s it and bye bye “Stable” build version?

  15. Josh says:

    No you can go back and forth between the stable build and the experimental just by switching your settings on and off then reinstalling the game. Very simple. I’m back to the stable build again sense there really isn’t much more I can tell about the experimental build until it gets an update.

  16. Josh says:

    People always do say to back up your save file but there really is no point until we can actually be rescued in the game. I don’t but a lot of people do. FYI

  17. Josh says:

    Also to SprayCanManSam… Could we possibly see a Wind Sailing raft by chance in the future? The motor boat is cool but its too loud when it comes to traveling for a while. Will there be a wider variety of sharks in the future too? More non-lethal types of sharks that hung around the islands but immortal would be nice on the scenery plus it would be cool to have some renamed buddies swimming around while your fishing. The turtles and Stingrays should be immortal as well.

  18. Anonymous says:

    The daylight is too bright and the sun off of the water is like someone holding a light bulb in your face. The “Stable” version was toned down in this regard. It actually bugs out my eyes.
    Just letting you know. I hope you can tone down on the brightness..Please. Otherwise, I love this version and am glad I opted in yesterday. I’m staying with it from now on, bugs or no bugs. But please see about the brightness please, as that will definitely hinder my playing. Thanks.

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