Survarium Update 0.40 Preview
The public testing of a long-awaited Survarium 0.40 is on its way to the PTS. The development of Survarium 0.40 has taken more than three months and some of its components – more than six months. Therefore, the release of 0.40 will become an important stage in the development of the game. Changes will affect both the technical aspects and gameplay.
You may have learned some details about Survarium 0.40 in the Developers' Diary No.10. Today we offer you to learn more about the key features of the update.
One of the most noticeable changes will be the new user interface (UI). While developing it we set several goals. Here they are.
- The new interface should be clear and visually appealing.
- It should simplify the overall perception of the game.
- It should properly inform the player about the influence of certain aspects on the gameplay.
- It should take into account all changes in the game mechanics and allow you to quickly and easily perform the most common actions.
During the development we faced with the fact that some of the game mechanics are impossible to be implemented in a way that is consistent with our goals. It is especially true when changing character’s equipment before a match. So we decided to change the following.
- Now you cannot equip several types of ammunition to a single weapon at once.
- Decals and camos are not items anymore, and now you can earn them for certain achievements. Unlocked decals and camos can be applied to any number of items.
- Boosters do not occupy a slot for supplies and, when activated, last for a certain number of battles.
Clearly, the difference between the old and the new interface is huge. And you'll need some time to get used to it. But we hope that you will appreciate convenience and interactivity of the new interface.
Unfortunately, we did not have enough time on our hands to implement all the ideas. In particular, in the near future we plan to add support for equipment sets. This will allow you to save the equipment of your character and then load it to any of the profiles.
The second important addition is weapon modules. The number of available modules depends on the type and level of a weapon. To unlock a module you need to make a certain number of kills with the weapon you’re leveling up. The higher the level of a weapon, the greater the impact the module may have on your play style. And the more kills you need to unlock it.
You will be able to install different modules in three categories on each weapon. For example, on Kalashnikov assault rifles you can install scopes, muzzle devices and additional modules which include laser target designators and tactical grips. You cannot install two modules from one category simultaneously. Please note that you also cannot install modules on the starting weapons (PPSh, TT-33, Mosin rifle, Winchester Model 1894).
Modules affect both the appearance of a weapon and its characteristics. So, installing a laser pointer improves accuracy when firing from the hip. Tactical grip reduces recoil, and angled grip reduces penalty to accuracy when moving.
Naturally, weapon modules will have a significant impact on the game balance and so some changes should be made in the game mechanics. One of such mechanics is recoil. Most of the weapons allow you to install scopes with different magnification. For example, you can install 4x scopes on assault rifles.
However, the possibility to install scopes with high and low magnification values on the same weapon leads to some issues with recoil. Experienced players could have met this problem when using VSS and VSK-94. Recoil is either almost non-existent when firing from the hip or becomes completely uncontrollable when firing aiming through the scope.
To avoid this problem we introduced different settings of recoil when firing from the hip and in aiming mode. We also slightly reduced recoil of automatic weapons for the second and subsequent bullets fired. That should make it easier to shoot in short bursts while aiming through the scope.
We are paying a lot of attention in version 0.40 to the game performance. The new renderer was originally developed keeping in mind requirements and limitations of older PCs and laptops. Our goal was to achieve a sufficient FPS (frames per second) on Intel HD Graphics 4000 video adapters. We tried to minimize the visual difference between the new and the old render. Playing on low settings shouldn't give any advantage, for example, increase visibility of the enemy.
Performance increase on low-end PCs was achieved by reducing the data about the objects to a minimum: we compressed information about color and normal maps, and added support of minimum palette of materials. Though the type of renderer has not changed – it's still the same deferred shading with dynamic light sources and shadows and physically accurate lighting. All stages of the renderer have been rewritten from scratch, an internal representation of data was also optimized which should improve stability on 32-bit systems with low amounts of RAM.
Unfortunately, a great number of changes and a great variety of PC configurations require a radically new approach to testing. For the large-scale testing we will select a few dozen of players with different PC configurations and will give them access to a special version of the game which allows playing with the new renderer. Based on the results of this test we will make a decision whether to include the new renderer in the future update or not. Sign up to participate in renderer testing in Preferences tab of your profile by checking the box "Participate in closed testing of the upcoming updates" and pressing "Submit".
We will continue development of a new renderer, adding new features which will work only on high quality graphics settings.
Watch the video comparing both renders on a couple of PC configurations. One has Intel HD4000 videocard, the other has GeForce 8800 GTS (corresponds to the current minimum system requirements of Survarium). Thus, the new renderer will not only increase the perfomance on low end PCs, but will further decrease minimum system requirements (still allowing to play with at least 30 frames per second). We've made this video using one of the replays in Survarium 0.34a. You can download the replay and check how well your PC handles it. And you will get more fps with the new renderer!
Apply for the new renderer test on the PTS in your profile settings: check "Participate in closed testing of the upcoming updates", press "Submit".
We are also introducing significant changes to the game’s economics system. We noticed that lots of players complain about lack of silver income on different levels of equipment. But according to our calculations, on average players should still earn more silver than they lose even at the highest levels of equipment.
Analysis of the situation showed that the net income of silver per battle is in line with our expectations but many players do actually lose in-game money. The difference between players that gain or lose in-game money lies not so much in their playing skills but in how often they use consumables. The more consumables you use, the higher the bill you receive after a match.
We believe it is wrong to penalize you for playing actively and using consumables so we have decided not to take into account the number of used cartridges and supplies when calculating the cost of playing in a battle. Ammo and supplies still have a price of usage which will be added to the total cost of participation in battle.
In addition, there will be other changes details of which you will learn from the complete list of changes at the start of PTS. Stay tuned!