It’s been a couple of weeks since the last update, I’m sorry about that, but we all have day jobs too I’m afraid, but never the less have a look at what we’ve been up to.
On the engine side of things, for these past weeks we’ve been trying to track down a recurring error. In short sometimes when we open the editor all of the settings in the spawners have reset to the defaults. We’ve trolled through the UE4 answerhub looking for others that have had similar issues and attempted to implement their solutions and/or to use their reproduction steps to isolate the cause of the issue; all to no avail. However, after several days of testing and giving up, we finally located the cause of our issue and had nailed down some reproduction steps. It turns out to be a known issue in the engine, that thankfully doesn’t affect everyone. You can read more about the problems we’ve had here on the UE4 answerhub.
We’ve got a few of our own still lurking around, firstly sometimes when the zombies die they continue to follow the player or their last set location on the nav mesh (yes I know we said that this was fixed, but turns out I jumped the gun). There’s a new bug too, well it’s old but we’ve only just noticed, it’s possible to uber rapid fire the perma pistol by mashing the gamepad trigger or the mouse button. So we’ve now hunting down the causes and solutions to these, but thankfully nothing it game backing (right now).
The rest of our time over the last couple of weeks has been spent (on the engine side) optimizing. We’ve got a lot of clean up going on now to remove enemies from rooms past, so we don’t have hundreds of unseen blueprints and behaviour tress eating up all of the processing power. We’ve also cleaned up a lot of the blueprints to remove erroneous nodes and ticks and new functionality to deactivate elements that aren’t in use. We’ve also done a lot of lighting work, but more on that below.
Thanks to all of the optimization work we’ve got a stable 60fps on built versions of the game on mid-range PC hardware
Quite a bit has been done on the game side as well, mostly the lighting. We’ve performed a complete overhaul of the lighting in the game / levels add the optimization and the overall aesthetic of the game. Arguably mostly importantly we’ve seriously limited our overall number of dynamic lights and even objects that can be effected by the dynamic lights and shadows, which gave us a huge boost in performance. We’ve then gone room by room adding in new lights and testing bouncing, shattering and the falloff to achieve the effect described by the concept art (check out the images below).
Additionally, to this we’ve finally implemented the Q-Zone, which was surprisingly easy, a few amendments had to be made to the spawners to make it all compatible, but all in all it went a lot smoother than I had anticipated. When the player enters the Q-Zone all the lights will shut off, the spawners effects (light and smoke) enable and red lights start revolving, and then the waves of enemies begin (check it out in the video below).
We’ve also tweaked the shotgun to make it a little more effective, we’ve added a few more controls to the doors so that they unlocked when a certain number of enemies have been killed from certain spawners, not from all the spawners (as it as was before) and we’ve added in a temporary menu screen for the Swansea Comic Con at the end of this month.
More soon. J