Tag Archives: ocean

19TH SEPTEMBER BLOG – NEW TERRAIN, NEW OCEAN, NEW BUILDING

So we recently updated the experimental branch with a new build and it might look a little different than the last —

pIvKZxD - Imgur

It’s Stranded Deep… just bigger and better!

There’s been some pretty big changes with a lot of the features we’ve been talking about starting to be introduced like the new ocean, terrain and building system. It is on the experimental branch so keep in mind that a lot of the features aren’t fully incorporated or optimised!

 

Ocean

The new ocean is probably the first thing that is noticeably different when you start a new game. It’s already looking great, but we still have a bit to do to integrate it better (removing some artefacts, optimising for different systems, etc) but when it’s finished it should easily look and perform better than the previous system. We’ve started integrating the ocean with the player movement and rafts as well which definitely adds to the experience of being stuck in open ocean in a little life raft. We appreciate that some people might get a bit motion sick so we’ve added an options slider for the effect. Eventually we’ll incorporate more gameplay elements like drowning that will make it hard to traverse open water, necessitating ‘vehicles’ like rubber and wooden rafts, life preservers, boats, etc. On that note – the raft mechanics are currently being revamped so there might be a few glitches before we push the new mechanics.

 

Terrain

The terrain system has had a complete rework for the recent update. We’ve been torn between procedural generation and hand-crafted world design so we came up with a solution to combine the two. The new terrain system is split up into ‘zones’ where each zone has a biome with parameters that can be procedurally generated at run time or hand-crafted and loaded from disk… or a mixture of both. For now you start on a hand-crafted starting island which is mainly just a tester for all our new game elements. Eventually this starting zone, and many others will be detailed out by a level designer. The idea is to have the community involved with this process as well by allowing you to make your own custom map zones to share. You’ll be able to download any community created zones and add them to your custom world like a jigsaw puzzle. In-between these hand-crafted zones are ‘resource’ islands which are completely procedural like you’ve seen previously but are now up to 4x the size. Yay! All these changes meant reworking almost all the game mechanics.

 

Building.

The crafting and building system is also getting a huge rework. The new building part of the system has been introduced with the latest build. It’s in a very early stage, but it’s already incorporating new features like structural integrity and destruction. These features will be integrated more fully as the system progresses. The building pieces are just simple block-outs for now while we finalise the designs and how it will all work together with different material tiers. The building side of the crafting system is also running on the newer system while the crafting side is stuck on the old system. The ‘floating camp-fire’ bug is a casualty of the new crafting system being midway. We’re also working on a new crafting interface as part of the new system. The current menu system does not fit the new system well with placing panels and building parts so we’re sorting something out asap. There’s a bit to add and clean up with the new building system, but once it’s sorted the move to customisable rafts also shouldn’t be much of a problem.

 

Character

The character model is coming along nicely and is nearly finished. Tito’s done some great work. and we’ve added a close up shot so you get an idea of the attention to detail that he’s putting into it. It should be finished in the next few days and then it’s animating time!

Character Model 2 eyes

 

Others

We’ve also got lots of little bits and pieces going on the side. One little piece is new snakes —

SnakeProgress1 SnakeProgress2
These are all animated and are looking great. We’ve also got new rocks in the works, new building parts for different tiers, shipping containers, tarps, etc.
 
 
Right now we’re working on integrating the new map editor and getting the new crafting side of the crafting system incorporated.
So that’s it for this week 🙂 If we hadn’t mentioned it enough, there’s been a lot of big changes most of which meant we’ve had to pull the game to pieces and rework every system or create new ones and we’re still in the middle of it all.
But overall, the latest update and this build is a huge leap in the right direction for us and Stranded Deep.

 

Stay Alive!
:: Beam Team

 

We’ve included the change log in this blog post as it was too big for the Steam announcement page!

0.05.E1 CHANGE LOG

Bug Fixes
Culling – Fixed a small error with too many layers being excluded from lights culling masks that may have contributed to graphical errors on AMD/ATI cards.
UI – Added tooltip functionality for settings selection.
UI – Fixed scrollbar in graphics options menu displaying incorrectly.
UI – The position for the World seed dialogues input caret and highlighting was incorrect. This has been fixed internally with the upgrade to Unity 5.2.
Ocean – Fixed ambient occlusion writing over ocean surface underwater.
Crafting Triggers – Fixed errors with objects not leaving collections. This was also causing crafted items to not ‘appear’ where they should have.
Crafting Triggers – Optimised triggering algorithm and trigger collider types.

Changes
UI – Removed settings dialogue on start. All game settings, including resolution, are now made through the in-game options menu
Terrain – Improved terrain loading times. Zones are generated on startup to reduce runtime generation and biome transition hiccups.
Terrain – Improved grass and small plant models for the follow spawn system.
Building – Changed building mode color to blue.. again!
Saving – Saving system has been reworked to incorporate the new terrain and building system.
Trees – Improved large tree mesh normal. Overall better looking trees.
Player – Improved moving platform detection for objects like rafts, should see less jitteriness and less likelihood of falling off rafts during biome transitions.
Removed – Palm tree cutting. You now collect wood from small trees and drift wood. Other cutting trees will be added in a future update.
Removed – World re-centering. Transitions between biomes should now be much smoother.

New Content
New Systems
Terrain – New terrain system! The new terrain system has large Islands, handcrafted zones, procedural content, and more! The terrain system has been rewritten to support biome zones with much more detail. Zones now allow for large island either hand crafted or procedurally generated. The world is currently limited to a size of 5×3 biomes but will expand as the system progresses.
Ceto – New ocean system! This will be in the “work in progress” stage for a while as it continues being worked on by the developer and incorporated by us.
Caustics – Improved caustics. The switch to Ceto allowed us to rework the caustic system and incorporate our original caustics again which are more fluid and dynamic.
Tides – A simple semi-diurnal tide system has been implemented. This will have more impact when buoyancy and currents have been fully implemented.
Building – New building system! This system is in very early days. Only the lowest building material tier is available to build with for now. All building pieces are placeholders.
Building pieces also have a basic structural support mechanic implemented:
– Roofs and floors need a foundation with two walls to support the next level.
– Foundations, floors and roofs can support one ‘tile’ out from themselves.
Be careful not to place something where it won’t be supported as you will lose all of your materials! The building combos are all basically a stick.. and if it needs another piece (eg: to build steps you need a foundation and a stick). Hopefully this will help everyone test things quickly.
Building – New destruction gibs! A basic system for gibs has been implemented. This will evolve as the building system progresses.
DirectX 11 – Added DirectX 11 support. This will allow users with capable video cards to run the game under DirectX 11. This will also open the way for DX11 specific optimizations like running the ocean simulation solely on the GPU.
DirectX 9 – Users with DirectX 9 can select the “DirectX 9.0” option on start-up or add “-force-d3d9” to the game’s launch options for a more permanent solution.
Reflection Probes – Users running the game under DirectX 11 will have the new reflection probes. Currently there’s an internal bug stopping probes from rendering correctly under DirectX 9 and OpenGL. The reflection probes only contain the sky at the moment.
Unity – Upgraded to latest version of Unity 5.2. According to the release notes there’s been “CPU side rendering performance optimizations across the board. We’ve seen between 5% and 30% lower CPU cost for rendering, depending on the setup.”

New Content
Foliage – New foliage! The new foliage makes better use of our new shaders with translucency, etc.
Foliage – New ceriman plant
Foliage – New banana frond plant
Foliage – New ficus trees, can be harvested for sticks
Foliage – New palm trees
Foliage – New heart-leaf philodendron plant
Rocks – New temporary rocks, cliff models
Drift Wood – Drift wood, harvest driftwood logs from driftwood piles scattered around island shores.
Effects – New HDR tone mapper and eye adaptation. The new tone mapper is much better quality than the previous built-in tone mapping we were using.
Effects – New ‘Motion Blur’ effect. This is only recommended for higher end systems.
Effects – New ‘Depth of Field’ effect. This is only recommended for higher end systems.

Known Issues
OSX – There is a bug at the moment where wave overlays aren’t applying properly under OpenGL. This affects foam, shore fading, etc.
Ambient Occlusion – We’ve started seeing some weird haloing related to the terrain. We’re looking in to the cause.
Shadows – There are a few visual artefacts related to shadow cascades. We’re looking in to the cause.
Rafts – The rafts are in the middle of a rework. There may be some visual glitches when paddling. Try to stay in the centre of the raft.

Dev Notes
Intro– The intro scene has been removed temporarily.
Atmosphere – Weather has been disabled temporarily.
Crafting Triggers – This system is in the middle of an overhaul. There is a bug where picking up an item in a crafting pile won’t remove itself from the ‘collection’. Drag them away from the pile first before picking it up.
Crafting – Crafted position. The crafting system is also in the middle of an overhaul. Be careful where you choose to craft an item. Craft items in an open space, don’t craft panels on top of stories, etc or they could go flying or get stuck.
Building – There is no collision checking for the building ghosts at the moment. Be careful of placing foundations too close to other foundations (unless they’re snapping together) as it will cause bugs with snapping connectors interfering.
Sea Creatures – None of the sea creatures have been fully integrated with the ocean yet. You may see a few popping through the waves.

 

0.05.E2 CHANGE LOG

Bug Fixes

– Fixed not starting with your lighter and water bottle.
– Fixed time of day not advancing.
– Fixed large rock collisions on main island.
– Fixed missing mesh for world barriers.
– Fixed sea creatures spawning under new terrain.
– Fixed crashing when dying or quitting to main menu.
– Fixed shipwreck marker bubbles not displaying properly.
– Fixed menu tooltips not resetting when in-game.
– Fixed cloud shadow direction.
– Fixed not being able to damaged steps building piece.
– Fixed detail object spawner not reloading properly.
– Fixed a potential overlapping scenario with saving.
– Fixed ocean artefacts when using binoculars.
– Fixed ocean artefacts when changing field of view in game.
– Fixed terrain generation causing sharp cliff edges.
– Fixed an error when collecting coconuts from trees.
– Fixed some trees not spawning coconuts.
– Fixed shark swimming above ocean.
– Fixed fall damage from waves while on rafts.

Changes

– Added fish system back.
– Added fish trap crafting combo back.
– Added optional ocean rotation for moving platforms.
– Added menu slider for new rotation feature under “Gameplay” section.

New Content

– Added new rocks.

Dev Notes

– SMAA is not working.

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1ST SEPTEMBER BLOG

It’s just a quick check in this week.
We’re super busy with all the things mentioned in the last update —

The new building system is beginning to take shape. I’ve been working on a crude tier system and basic structural support as well as gibs for destruction.

Our new ocean system, Ceto, is in place. Ceto is going to be a fantastic Unity asset and by far the best ocean system available for the Unity engine. However, it’s still not a drop in solution for Stranded Deep. Ceto’s current stage of development is missing a few features like shore effects that have taken a bit of work to re-introduce and integrate with our rendering pipeline.
It will be in the “work in progress” stage for a while as it continues being worked on by the developer and incorporated by us. But overall it’s been worth it and even in its current stage we’ve created a beautiful Frankenstein.

The new terrain is also progressing. At this point, there will be one island that’s been placed by hand which will primarily be a tester for placing all our new elements and trying different configurations. The rest of the zones are filled in with procedural content, or what we’ve called “resource islands”, which are similar to the islands that exist now.

There’s still a lot to do this week, but sometime towards the end of the week we’ll be cleaning up most of the loose ends and hopefully getting it out on the experimental branch 🙂

Stay Alive!
:: Beam Team

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THE NEW STABLE BUILD

Wow, what a week!

So this week we moved our experimental build over to the stable branch. We’d like to say it went smoothly, but the transition was a little rough. A few large bugs slipped through the net and took us by surprise. It’s amazing how many things can pop up even after 2 months of solid testing on the experimental branch with no problems! Ironically, most of the problems were caused because people were able to run the game too well! But we’re glad to say it’s all sorted now.

We have received a lot of criticism on the new update. It was mentioned in the patch notes, but it’s worth mentioning again that this stable update is only a midpoint to some big upcoming changes so it might not look the prettiest at the moment.

 

Other News

We’ve hinted at a lot of smaller features that we can incorporate now that the world isn’t quite so procedural. One of those is the new global illumination in Unity 5. Basically, the new system allows you to pre-compute or ‘bake’ the lighting data and then use that data to calculate approximate indirect diffuse lighting based on the sun light’s position in real time. We’ve only just started playing around with this feature, but the results look promising —

GI Tests

 

We also have a new character artist, Tito. Tito has previously worked for Ubisoft on projects including Assasins Creed, Farcry 4, Splinter Cell and more. We’ll keep you posted with any progress on that front 🙂

We’ve got big plans for the next major version of the experimental build. We’ll be switching to our new tester island which is in it’s early stages. Obviously this means the procedural generation will be removed and exploration will be limited, but it will give players a chance to kick the tyres. There will also be new vegetation that really takes advantage of the new foliage shaders I wrote a while ago. And if all goes to plan, we’ll have the new ocean system in as well. This will be rough around the edges as some features aren’t officially implemented yet and we won’t be spending too much time on band-aids, but it will still be a good opportunity to play around with it and get an early indication of any problems we might have in the future.

We would also like to update the stable build with the new foliage in the meantime, as the old foliage is looking a little poor at the moment.

So it was a difficult week for us community-wise and the bugs stalled development a little, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel. A lot of good things are in motion 🙂

 

Stay Alive!
:: Beam Team

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EXPERIMENTAL BUILD 0.04.E4 …AND SHINY THINGS

The latest experimental build 0.04.E4 is now live. See the patch notes here —
http://steamcommunity.com/games/313120/announcements/detail/79161486321144821

This will hopefully be the last update before pushing it out to the stable branch, so if you have any issues, let us know on the forums here —
http://steamcommunity.com/app/313120/discussions/7/

 

Here’s what’s been happening lately 🙂

Crafting

I mentioned a while back, before the upgrade to Unity 5, that we would be coming back to the crafting system. With the existing crafting and building system, we’d been getting concerned that we were reaching almost a saturation point or limit to the physical dragging mechanic – basically ending up in players just piling crap into a pile and crossing their fingers that the right combination would appear… It became apparent that this problem would only get worse with any content that we added. We needed to rethink…
So in between things, we’d been brainstorming and came up with a new crafting and building system concept. We’re pretty pumped about it as it should allow a lot of freedom and best of all, it’s essentially an evolution of the mechanics that exist now and what make Stranded Deep unique. The best way to describe the new building system is free and open building. You will be building your tools and building components now. You won’t be necessarily limited to a “foundation” or “wall” prefab. With our proposed system, if you want a foundation, you’ll have to build it from pieces. If you want to place walls, you’ll have to prop it up and fix it so it won’t fall down. It will be a universal system that will carry through from the building system to the crafting system. You will be able to choose your blades, handles and fixings, all affecting the properties of the final crafted piece.  The goal being to diversify the appearance and functionality of the unique structures and tools you create.

 

Terrain and Vegetation

The new terrain system is also coming along. We’ve been mocking up test islands, playing with different methods of authoring all the maps needed (height, splat, normals, etc) and nailing down the features we need in the shaders to render it all. It’s all highly a work in progress at this stage —

Large_Islands

We’ve got a lot of assets for the environment being worked on at the moment so it will start to take better shape once they come back and get placed in the world.

Proper PBR terrain textures are also in the works —

RockScreen2

…along with new trees and foliage being worked on too. Here’s an example concept spreadsheet of potential vegetation for Stranded Deep that is then modelled in SpeedTree —

wSD_sketches_trees a01v1-1

 

Ceto

We’ve made mention that we’re looking into a new ocean system as well. A Unity forum member by the name of ‘scrawk’ is creating an ocean asset called ‘Ceto’ (named after a Greek sea goddess) for the Unity community —

Ocean29

Please note that the terrain pictured in this screenshot is not from Stranded Deep! It’s from Unity’s ‘Blacksmith’ technical demo.

It’s still early in development but we can’t wait to get our hands on it when it’s ready for beta, and we’ll be implementing it on our experimental branch as soon as we can. As you can see, it’s looking fantastic, and best of all it lets us focus on other aspects of the game.

 

Other Bits

There’s always lots of smaller things we’re working on in between the bigger features… Unity 5 has a nice new feature called ‘reflection probes’. Reflection probes render and store the environment around them in a cubemap which can be used by reflective materials. If you combine reflection probes with a screen-space reflections post-effect it really adds a nice bit of eye-candy —

SSR Preview 2

When the new terrain system is finshed we will be able to create a nice system to bake multiple probes around the world for high quality reflections at a minimal cost, with the screen-space reflections filling in the gaps. It’s all a work in progress at the moment, but there is a basic reflection probe for the sky implemented in 0.04.E4. Screen space reflections aren’t ready for release yet, but these features will be worked on, improved and implemented as time allows.

We do understand that it’s hard to visualise the progress when so much is happening behind the curtains, so hopefully this blog post helps a bit! 🙂
That’s it for this update 🙂

 

Stay Alive!
:: Beam Team

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Two by two

A lot’s been happening since the last big update and it’s hard to put it all into one showcase so we like to break things up a bit.

 

Lets Talk Animals and Biomes.

As a lot of our followers know, Stranded Deep is infinitely procedurally generated. Along with this generation, a variety of different biomes and habitats are also created that our animal system heavily relies on.

The conventional way to populate worlds in a lot of games is a “spawn in system” – a player triggers a zone or event and a spawning system kicks in. However, we’ve gone into a little more detail, creating a system that incorporates population, breeding, and territories. We really want to put emphasis on your resource management and the visual impact you can have on environments; You can strip an island bare for wood, extinguish the crab population, eradicate reefs of fish, and even push back shark territories.

Crab_Killer
To survive in Stranded Deep you have to be smart and care for the environment, giving it time to heal and replenish or even aid in its development. Sure, you can think short term and stock up on crab meat, but long term when your fridge runs dry and there’s nothing to populate the crab holes things may get a little scary.

 

Sharks.

No ocean survival adventure is complete without them. We’ve spent a lot of time developing sharks behaviours and one of the biggest challenges was balancing how they’re portrayed. Let me run through some of these behaviours:

Sharks are assigned territories within biomes and are continuously exploring these areas as they would in the real world. You can find tiger and reef sharks scavenging the shallows and great whites ruling the depths.
You might randomly stumble upon a shark’s course or you could lure them with careless activities such as spear fishing or bleeding out.

Shark Raft_wm

All sharks have different traits, some are more curious than others whilst some are completely frightened of you. If a shark is interested in you during an encounter, it is likely to start circling, trying to get an idea of what it’s confronting. It might lose interest and continue about its day or depending on the circumstance, build aggression for an attack. What happens from here is something we wish players to experience first hand. We believe we’ve depicted sharks as realistically as possible, not as careless killing machines but as the curious creatures they are.

This is just a small glimpse of Stranded Deep’s wildlife; birds, turtles, stingrays, sea snakes, the list goes on and we might get to cover some more in a future update. With the help of Early Access we can continue to balance and develop new exciting systems that will all impact your survival.

 
That’s it for this update. We get asked a lot of questions about hunting and wildlife so hopefully this gives you a bit of an insight. We appreciate everyone’s support and absolutely love reading your thoughts! Exciting times ahead during these final preparations before release 🙂
Be sure to stick around for more updates!

 
:: The Team at Beam

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H20

Another little update 🙂

There’s been a lot of interest in water systems on the Unity development forums lately, so I thought I’d post a quick video update on our water system for Stranded Deep —

There has been some improvements. Our original implementation calculated the vertex displacement on the CPU for a few reasons, but that has been moved over to the GPU now..  A few things are not shown in the video – the wave peaks and the sub-surface scattering.. and some underwater effects.

I’m hoping to have a chance to play with a screen-space reflections implementation in the coming weeks to replace the current method, so might even have another update! 😛

But there’s more important things we’re finishing at the moment, like building 😉

:: Sam

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