JUNE 3RD UPDATE

Another week, another post, here’s what we’ve been doing lately 🙂

 

UI

If you’ve opted into the experimental builds, you probably know that all the UI has now been ported over to Unity’s native UI system. It’s all functional, but not complete. A lot of animations and effects are missing.

I had a fun issue the day of uploading our latest experimental build. I had finished porting over all the UI and went to test it in the standalone build. The menus were not appearing or they were at random locations on the screen. I managed to fumble around and start a new game, and then quit back to the main menu. The menus were now appearing correctly. Huh?

Unity’s UI system has an option to render a UI “canvas” as a screen overlay, through a camera or in the game’s world space. We’re rendering our UI elements as a screen overlay so we don’t need additional cameras or culling layers for them. In the main menu scene, there’s no need for a camera at the moment – it’s just the menus. What’s not immediately apparent is that if you don’t have ANY camera in the scene, overlay canvases will not render correctly. A Unity tech explained that without a camera, the screen overlay canvas has nothing to “overlay”. Uhh.. makes sense 😛 So chucking in a dummy camera rendering nothing was enough to trigger a clear and tell the canvases to overlay that and do their thing. It was an odd one, and I’ll put it down to a long day, but the 0.04.E2 build ended up being released a day later because of it. It happens.

Graphics

A lot of materials were broken with the move to Unity 5 for the experimental branch. Don’t be surprised if you see objects with incorrect specular, missing normal maps or odd colors. Anything that’s meant to be glass or transparent will also display as a solid color as we haven’t gotten around to writing a glass shader compatible with the new lighting model. Handling materials in Unity 5 is also a bit buggy, which hasn’t been helping. Bug reports and repro projects have been submitted, but no news so far.

Speedtree

As mentioned in recent posts, we’ve incorporated Speedtree into our workflow with the move to Unity 5. It comes with its pros and cons.

It’s fantastic for our early access workflow to have full control of wind parameters, LOD’s, billboards, ambient occlusion, and texture atlasing inside the one program. Before Speedtree, this process took much longer and relied on a number of different programs, which in some cases had worse results and made it nearly impossible to make fast edits without repeating the whole process again.

Speedtree is great software but it could definitely use some improvements with its Unity integration, such as the lack of physically-based shader support and nit-picky duplicated material exports. We’ve also had issues with getting funky results for vertex normal directions for leaf meshes which we’re looking into.

Coop

We’re starting to look into coop. Co-op isn’t a high priority on our list as a feature – we’ve always said that we’re focusing on a solid single player game first – but we’re going to be rewriting a lot of existing systems, so now’s the time to get the basics implemented as a lot of the new systems will need to build on it. Basically, if we don’t lay the foundation for co-op now, we’ll end up needing to rewrite a lot of code to support it, or even worse, tack on or duplicate existing functionality for coop gameplay.

There are some problems and choices to be made. If you’ve played the game, you’ve probably noticed that Stranded Deep relies on a lot of physics, picking things up, throwing them around, etc. In general, physics and networking is a pain. We’re still looking into it, but there might be some compromises and changes. Right now we’re running tests and looking into the best way to synchronise everything.

Terrain

The world in Stranded Deep is currently procedurally generated and infinite. This has worked great for development; features have been easy to add and everybody has gotten around to testing them. Soon though, we’ll be creating a large hand-crafted tile-based world. This will allow us to slowly “create” the world as we progress, adding a new tile with a new island or landmark as that part of the world is designed. There will be small tropical atolls dotted around the world (similar to now) and larger, more interesting islands as landmarks, where you might prefer to setup camp.

We also have plans to implement world building tools for the community. So potentially, you would design your tile’s terrain externally in World Machine, etc and then import your terrain data and create your own island tile with our provided tools. Other users would then be able to download your island and assign it to a free tile in their game. It’s in conceptual stages at the moment, but that’s essentially the idea.

 
Larger islands and coop are two of our most requested features, so we’re pretty excited to be working on both of them 🙂 Between the new terrain system and coop, this is where most of our time is going. So hopefully you can understand that the next experimental build might not be released until we have something that’s playable. But we’ll always keep you updated on our progress on our blog 🙂

 
Stay Alive!
:: Beam Team

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21 thoughts on “JUNE 3RD UPDATE

  1. Ben says:

    Hey beam team just wondering if you guys will add buildable house boats
    Cheers

  2. Stephen says:

    Please at least give the option for a randomly generated world, it gives so much more to the game because it’s always a new world to play so you’re not just playing the same game over and over

  3. Anonymous says:

    Sounds interesting, I do hope however that these new larger islands will have trees that regrow, being able to only cut down palm trees and then not being able to regrow them really makes it useless to set up camp anywhere…

  4. Jecandy says:

    Bigger islands and coop… you guys rock! 😀 Seriously, you’re actually listening to the community and their requested features. That’s like one of the #1 mistakes other game devs make. Keep up the great work!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Thank you so much for letting us know what you’re working on guys, you are the best and i can’t wait to see what you have in store for us 😀 Yay!
    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  6. Josh says:

    Getting ready to go try out the new build sense I just got the message of its release. All in all it sounds like you guys are really starting to make progress on the game but to give the community access to island creation and stuff is a very bad idea… what if a fan finds a way to completely overwrite and demolish your code and ingame sequences to where once downloaded by others allows him to alter everyone else’s data and thus far ruining the game because they have control over our data and not steam… I understand the same risk when using mods and such but at least the mods are legit by people who just want to make the game more fun. I for one will not be looking into the terrain building and stuff that you guys have addressed because I wouldn’t know where to start. Don’t open that kind of stuff to the public… Open it to people you know and them only… to put this type of open gameplay design to the public just screams “I’m a broken game that wants to get more broke”… By far the worst part of any post’s that have been released and reviewed by the public yet. I want to see the game go further into its development… Not get more and more broken…

  7. Murph says:

    I doubt that there would be any sort of code access to the community. All he was talking about was basically making custom island mods, run through the steam workshop. It doesn’t sound like “world building” extends much beyond that.

  8. Anonymous says:

    thx for coop !

  9. Anonymous says:

    Do u kno if you will ever have the game for xbox 360 and Xbox one

  10. Anonymous says:

    Anybody know if we will ever get this game on Xbox 360 or one

  11. spraycanmansam says:

    @Josh, Murph pretty much covered it 🙂

  12. Brandon says:

    I really enjoy this game! One of the only fun games I can play on my really old computer and run smooth. I would really like to see some wildlife, or some animals that are on land besides crab.

    Keep up the good work!

  13. Anonymous says:

    @Brandon they are working on wildlife more!

  14. Anonymous says:

    @Ben i agree they should add builiding house boats example: u put foundation on water it becomes a wooden raft then u put support on that wooden raft and roof and all that and it will become a house boat if devs sees this pls make them i would love you forever. 😀 Thanks -The guy that doesn’t have a name

  15. Anonymous says:

    Can you make Experimental Build v0 04 E3 for 32 bit? it would be really appreciated it would be awesome if u will thank you from bottom of my heart.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Please add snakes lizards and birds 😀 btw when you kill lizards they will drop meat and armor when you wear armor you will be able to see in your watch it will be in 4th bar and when sharks will attack you you will lose armor like 5 attacks when you wont have armor sharks will be able to kill you easily btw Lizards will ALWAYS drop 1 armor if you’re lucky there is 40% chance of getting 2 armor pls make it Thanks 🙂 Love you guys.

  17. Anonymous says:

    I’m hoping for a “houseboat” that’s at least four foundations square for what would be a pontoon-style rig with a shed for sleeping/shelter and also compartments/containers for storage purposes.
    Also, it would have a motor/sail option and maybe a double-oar system when no wind. The perfect man-cave on water. =)

  18. Anonymous says:

    Is this game R.I.P?

  19. an ony mous says:

    will we ever see a ZX81 version?

  20. Tech says:

    Is the new update/communique coming soon?
    Thanks

  21. Josh says:

    Yes a new update will be coming out soon Tech… This isn’t the 1st time they waited longer than 2 weeks for an update… Also, to all the no namers who have posted… Stop trying to get features from another game added to a game that has a totally different environment. This isn’t The Forest. If you want a house boat then go play that game… There truly is no need for a house boat out in the middle of the ocean. Plus you all can probably forget about getting trees that regrow and respawn because that would totally defeat the purpose of the game. What good will going from island to island be if your have all your materials respawning on one island… Makes no sense for a game such as this.

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