This literally is the biggest update yet. I can't even point to just a single feature and still do this update justice. I want to give everyone a sneak peek of what is to come.
Now you don't have to indefinitely run out of wood after playing a few hours. I think this system will encourage players to build near areas with trees and to protect their territory.
New Visibility System (Inside/Outside)
This is an essential feature for the upcoming multiplayer. If you are surrounded by at least 3 walls you will be considered indoors. Of course you will be warm and snug inside but unable to see what may be lurking about on the other side of the walls.
Along with this system you can no longer see inside of other building when indoors. Single building view is 100% functional now.
I have to draw these at the moment as I can not currently afford an artist (have not been able to afford one for awhile now actually). They are coming along slowly and I don't think they look too terrible. I mean you can tell what it is right? A plant yes. You were right!
Important Changes Not Shown By GIFs
Stable Save Files
I attempted to play Project Explore myself for about 30 minutes only to see that my save file had become terribly corrupted. This is obviously quite a turn off to any gamer. I was somewhat aware of the issue prior to the reports but it was rare and didn't seem like anything more than a single user-end issue. I was obviously wrong. After stomping out tons of bugs and cleaning up a lot of the games inner workings I believe that the save files are now stable.
A lot of people complained that they would die and not even realize they could have saved their game prior to dying. This makes for a bad first impression and a lot of future forgetfulness leading to a very frustrating experience. I set up asynchronous autosaving as a solution. What this means is that you shouldn't notice the game has even saved while you play unless you are on an extra large world in which the game must save tons of data. Even that is a tiny hiccup and since you can set how often you wish for the game to autosave, or if you don't want it to at all; it isn't really a big issue.
Optimization, The Endless Battle
Most people seem to praise Project Explore for its performance on low end machines but I still feel like there is more that I could improve upon. For instance the ceiling and foundation objects were being drawn as cubes. This means five draw calls for each face of the cube (it doesn't draw the bottom). This simply makes no sense to do when the ceiling and foundations appear as flat anyways. They are now drawn as a flat surface. It is impossible to tell the difference and it runs better in crowded areas.
I also did a bit of cleaning up for weather and insanity effects. Dust storms were hard hitting due to a screw up on my side of things. This has been fixed and now allows dust storms to run without hurting the framerate almost at all. Turning the particles to 'Low' now yields additional performance boosts as well.
The Ponds, Lakes, And Ocean
Houses spawned in the ocean. Random items. NPCs would run in place after being spawned out there. Water overlapped itself in a strange manner. All of this has been fixed and the water further optimized. In case items or objects do manage to get into the water it is required of the water object to clear other objects in its vicinity. It's normally quite expensive to check for almost every single object in the game and then to filter through whether it is in the water. This is why users were experiencing minor drops of framerate when near the ocean. I cleaned up all the code for the water objects and the ocean water areas. This seemed to have played a big role in fixing corrupted save files.
It was suggested to me multiple times and has been an idea rolling around in my head for awhile. Roads connect houses and in front of these houses are crates. Tons of loot can be found in villages and I'd imagine that is what will make them sought after. Each part of the village is selected randomly from a preset layout. Each crate, road, and building is randomly put into place so most villages will not look alike despite the preset layout.
When Is The Update Releasing?!
I am excited to release this new update and expect it to really clear up a lot of issues that currently stand. I myself have actually put quite a few hours into the game since all these changes were made. The game really is much more enjoyable now.
I hope to have this update released around August 24th.
Thanks for reading!