Things have normalized some in college and I'm finding increased free time as of late, so this is good.
Things done this month:
-Added parrying system for melee weapons. Depending on both skill with the weapon and melee weapons as a whole (2 seperate skills to review; 1 weapon family and 1 weapon model) they have between 50-100% chance to reduce incoming damage, provided they are also looking towards the source of impact enough. Melee/knock-out damage is reduced by 95% upon successful block and standard/hollowpoint rounds are reduced a variable amount depending on model and item quality, but the Hatchet (aka the only currently in pre-alpha melee weapon) has a reduction of 50% damage. It's been tested that even at 100% block chance (which is ASTOUNDINGLY hard to get by the way) that trying to block bullets with a melee weapon is not a good idea. If you're closing the distance and need to get there as safely as possible, it might be decent, but cover often proves superior and blocking reduces movement speed to 65% (as with using iron sights or a scope on a gun). That being said, it feels really god damn cool to block bullets a bit and then get revenge when the moment is right, it is also overwhelming effective at fighting melee-heavy opponents, provided you get the block off at the right moment.
-Modified the way weapons decay slightly, mostly in that successfully blocking with a melee weapon invokes 1 or 2 points of condition damage, with 2 points being done per bullet blocked, and a more universal function I recently setup for weapon decay can now individually invoke weapon condition failure effects (so melee weapons don't need to impact something afterwards if say they spend their last bits of condition in blocking)
-Modified armor damage factor between Hardened, Armor Piercing, and Explosive ammo effects. Hardened previously had the conflict of the same level of corrosion as AP, but also doing the same bullet damage and getting a 2nd target's penetration with the same AP effects. This was bad and made the rivalry between multi-target penetrating ammo and AP totally one-sided. AP is now much more effective as well as explosive damage, and that is a direct buff to the two since armor decay rates are currently fairly low, meaning AP wasn't working as well as one would hope in a prolonged fight.
-Fixed some weird inconsistencies with crafting, IE high velocity gunpowder was insanely harder to make than explosive gunpowder and incendiary was incredibly powerful and really low requirement. Also stuff like explosive ammo being super cheap to craft, although it is perhaps the best ammo additive currently in existence. It pulls high aggro and sound range from enemies but universally adds more damage and decays armor quite well.
-Fixed some icon mix-ups with some crafting ingredients.
-Added the parts, art, belt icons, recipes, and etc for the .45 revolver and secondary assault rifle weapons. This concludes the proper setup for every currently existing firearm in game, though the pool is likely to be expanded in the future to include more projectile weapons and explosives, possibly including grenades.
-Shooting NPC's in the legs 90-95% plus of the time with non "super lethal" ammos (hollowpoints, incendiary, explosive, so forth) will knock them out instead of killing them. I will likely include something soon so shooting unconscious persons with X or more damage invokes their death. This was done by TNM, because it makes insane amounts of sense. The new system will likely also be less sensitive than the previous example's and be affected by armor rating as well, so unconscious persons in high body armor take more punishment to kill (and gib, but that's already in place)
-Tweaked some weird bugs with reload transition, causing anims to get cut off.
-Rebalanced some weapon's accuracy and effect on accuracy from iron sight usage.
-Installed a new parent class for animals, with options for including things like armor or more advanced hit boxes for damage receival l (animals are currently very dumb and take universal damage levels except from behind. Go figure.)
-Fixed some REALLY weird bugs and instabilities.
-Fixed a bug that was very comparable in nature to the DSTNM travel glitch. The story goes something like this:
Belt slots by default render textures based on the item they are bound to, this is a really simple concept but belt slots are not Actor classes but instead ExtensionObject classes. This presents a whole world of problems. A bug was being presented that blamed belt slots for attempting to render a texture (a function that, mind you, is identical to the one used in vanilla DX. Hell it IS the same function as it isn't even overridden.) This seems to be random and unpredictable in nature.
It happened mid combat and mid-crafting for no foreseeable reason, but occurred in violent tantrums. Due to some recent work with the new carcass looting system, it hit me: The carcass window somehow was able to reference and use the carcass it was attached to even after the carcass had been destroyed, this would invoke crashes and would be theoretically impossible in unreal engine since actor references are cleared upon its destruction, except that the carcass looting window was well... a WINDOW, and not an actor. It would consequently not clear the reference and create a dangerously unstable reference point, until I got it to back off by clearing it manually and safely. So what happens a lot near these belt crashes is that either a part is destroyed to become a larger item in crafting or I use the last medkit in-stack mid combat, then crashing emerges after these were suspiciously on the belt... so what if the belt slots weren't clearing the destroyed actors they refer to after their destruction and began referencing things like... icon textures and tries to render that same dangerously retrieved information? A crash.
The solution? Make the new pickup and weapon parent classes clear their references on inventory/loot tiles and belt slots with an iterator upon destruction. I have not crashed a single time since, having played many, many hours of extensive deus ex testing since... a major victory.
-Got to the bottom of a REALLY weird and rare crash that appeared after breaking down weapons retrieved in a massive battle. In essence the weapons had individual condition levels for their parts and stacked the parts upon breakdown separately based on class, material, and damage to the individual part itself. Well, after you grab a very diverse set of worn down weapons and break down en masse, they stack separately over and over for large troves of parts, which eventually actually overloads the inventory system due to its reliance on weight and not actual grid size, making it potentially unlimited... but this is a cool things. So what's going on is something I can't directly fix without changing a stance on major inventory/crafting function, and I'm not okay with that. The engine begins to iterate through the chain of the player's inventory, but since it's an iterator it assumes the loop is "infinitely recurring" (endless) if it has iterated X hundred times without ceasing yet. Well, after breaking down 20-40ish weapons with 3-5 parts each stacking separately almost every time and combined with other items such as ammos and recipes, the total inventory size is greater than X hundred by nature... so even if the iterator isn't recurring infinitely it THINKS it actually is and shuts down the game as a safety measure. There are 3 very simple solutions the player can pursue to stop this from ever happening, and they're all very simple and shouldn't have this be a major threat anyways.
A. Don't carry insane amounts of crap at one point in time. If the encumbrance system makes you overweight by a couple hundred pounds, you should consider dropping items instead of packing more. (Prevention is the best cure)
B. Before breaking down your weapons, repair them. This is actually VERY logical since it tends to be exponentially less profitable (By percentage of condition vs payout) to not repair items before disassembling them, and actually saves you resources when the day is done. This stops the parts from splitting too much and keeps everything very tidy for future generations, even allowing you to stockpile parts en masse in the future with 0 concerns, since they'll just increase stack count instead of making more actual instances.
C. If you won't consider the above two, then at least break down items in smaller shifts before breaking down the parts to materials. Materials are very indiscriminate and only stack based on their actual type, so this naturally tends to the overload in a manner several times more compact than even repaired parts from solution B, and is pretty non-troublesome to do since the workbench is OUTRAGEOUSLY optimized in easy/speed by its very simple hotkeys. (WASD + C, and 1-7 at the root window for selecting mode. Isn't that easy?) I've been able to go scrap to materials > materials to parts > parts to item and menu transitions inbetween using hotkeys only, and it takes less than 20 seconds sometimes for the entire ordeal. If you know your hotkeys, crafting is very easy and very swift, as well as naturally being rather fun.
Not necessarily a lot of big progress this month, but a lot of tough questions and solutions were proposed, and in a very reassuring manner. The current pre-alpha content set is smoother and more stable than ever. /Nerd Rant
EDIT: Oh, I almost forgot to say entirely. I also added a secondary screen when starting a new game that heavily mirrors difficulty selection in how its structured. Since the new skill system revolves around usage to increase their level, and the levels are much more intricate, the old screen for configuring skills/appearance has been removed for being (mostly) obsolete, but a screen for customization may return later in a more diverse manner. The new screen gives what is currently 4 choices for skills archetypes, such as stealth, crafting, most guns, medicine/melee combo that sometimes may give the player different starting items but mostly gives them a head start on a select few skills. This is heavily inspired by ES IV Oblivion's system to choosing main skills that got a similar sort of head start.