A new experimental build 0.17 has just been released!
Due to large scale changes to some important systems we’re releasing this one on the experimental branch. If you’re not sure how to opt in to this branch, see the instructions here.
This build features the new Progressive Loading system that we mentioned last update. This is a huge feature. Loading an island is now spread out across multiple frames to minimize the performance hit. This drastically reduces the loading hitch when approaching an island. You will see a small decrease in fps as some CPU power is used to load in all the new objects progressively, but this is still much better than the single large hitch. This had been getting worse as time went on as more objects were added and particularly as island sizes got larger – something that we hadn’t really planned for or ever intended. We’ll still be keeping islands on the smaller size as that was our plan, but the overall experience of traversing between islands is much smoother now. We’ll be tweaking and adjusting this as time goes by to make any hitches as minimal or non-existent as possible.
There’s a new Discovery Fog feature which is pretty cool; Undiscovered areas of the world will remain shrouded in the atmosphere until you discover them, lifting the fog and revealing the area. Any areas that you have discovered will remain visible and help you navigate. You will still need to keep track of your travels as undiscovered areas can obscure discovered areas (if you travel in a U shape around an undiscovered area for example).
There’s also changes to the Terrain generation and Foliage generation. We want to make the islands that you discover more detailed and interesting. We’re focusing on improving foliage generation and placement by clumping and grouping plants together and placing other environmental props how they would appear or grow in the real world. We’re also making better use of the land available and creating more interesting areas. This is still a WIP at this stage as a system like this requires constant tweaking and adjusting until we’re happy with it.
There’s a few new plants, the most obvious being the new Columnar Pine Trees. Our island designs are heavily influenced by areas in New Caledonia, like the Isle of Pines if you’re curious.
Some critical details have changed with the world and maps. Because of this, any maps made prior to this version are incompatible with 0.17.00+ and the game will notify you of this and won’t display those maps as available in your custom map list. Also, if you have an existing world with outdated maps you will be asked to create a new world.
When playing this build hopefully you will be able to see why we’ve been working on the things we have been – The new terrain billboarding system from last update, the new discovery fog and the new progressive loading all work together for a much nicer and more polished experience overall.
We know work on these core systems is admittedly not as exciting as general content, but the end result is that loading hitches are minimal and islands don’t pop in anymore – That’s a huge improvement and we’re pretty happy about it 🙂
Have fun 🙂
:: Beam Team
– Fixed Sun reflections not aligning with Sun when moving away from starting zone.
– Fixed multiple items missing shadows.
– Fixed dialogue buttons going off screen from map loading error messages overflowing.
– Fixed a large memory leak from Volumetric Cloud Occlusion feature.
– Improved creation and loading times of Worlds and Maps significantly.
– Improved Ladder climbing mechanics.
– Reduced the game’s Memory footprint by almost half.
– Reduced overhead when creating items when loading back a zone.
– Reduced overhead when loading back interactive objects.
– Reduced overhead when connecting raft pieces.
– Adjusted Cliff Rock texture to blend better with other rocks.
– Added large Cliff Rocks generating on larger islands.
– Added Ladder rotation support. You can now climb tilted palm trees.
– Temporarily disabled Seaforts due to no shallow biome.
– Disabled toggling Fullscreen mode in game.
– Added new Progressive Loading functionality!
Loading in a new area is spread across multiple frames to lower the performance hit. At this stage, travelling via a raft with a boat motor may still cause some hitches. This is because they are the fastest means of travel and we need to tweak the system based on that. Every other method of travel – swimming, life raft and sail raft should all be much nicer.
– Added new Discovery Fog system!
Undiscovered areas of the world will remain shrouded in the atmosphere until you discover them, lifting the fog and revealing the area. Any areas that you have discovered will remain visible and help you navigate. You will still need to keep track of your travels as undiscovered areas can obscure discovered areas.
– Added new Soilmap system!
Foliage should generate in a more natural form with vegetation layers. Pines will surround cliff faces to create a forest while palms surround the outer layers of the forest. Younger plants will spawn on the outside of forest borders.
– Added new Columnar Pine tree!
– Added new Young Columnar Pine tree!
Small pine trees can be harvested for stick resources.
– Added new Coca bush!
– Added game version validation to maps.
– Patched to Unity 5.4.1p4