As usual, everyone is hard at work and we have a lot to share.
First of all, we have our first programmer, Heiker! Please welcome him. He's still trying to get used to X-Ray at the moment as he has never programmed for a game engine before, and I don't think he's very familiar with Stalker either, but he is a C++ and HLSL programmer who prefers to do things visual in nature. I'm sure once he gets settled in he'll make some nice contributions, especially if he uses some of the graphical/shader goodies I sent him :)
Internal testing is underway right now with good feedback and a few bug fixes. Testing just started though the other day so we haven't gotten far with it yet.
Burguois is making daily updates and most recently he has added a very special artefact that spawns in gas/acid anomalies, added a few achievements, implemented a Stalker network/news system, implemented a script-based night vision system, implemented a very unique way to loot money from Stalkers (starts a quest), and some features I want to remain secret for now. He has also made a ton of radio mixes you'll hear on radios throughout the Zone. They are not just traditional Russian music but a nice variety of good and fun music to listen to. Plenty of other mods have added authentic Russian and Ukrainian music so it's nice to have something different (and you can always overwrite the radio files with ones from another mod if you don't like this).
Comrade Bear is getting the hang of animating in X-Ray and is currently working on new animations for a Mac-10. Hopefully all goes well, and after that he may go back and animate the Smith & Wesson M19 that's been sitting around in the files without any use.
*Edit* I forgot to welcome [TZP]LoNer1 to the team! I'm sure many of you are familiar with him due to his work with his many mods as well as Misery :) He recently made some new scope for us.
In terms of new weapons, that's no longer much of a focus. Maybe a handful more, but I'm pretty happy with what we currently have. It adds variety without going overboard. Next step for weapons is re-doing their upgrade system :)
Misc. other features that I've worked on is I added mutated bear to the game (don't know the original author, they're Russian I'm sure) whose new effects have yet to be done. I added bugs that circle around lights and then go away when the light turns off/is shot out. I fixed loadscreen tips to be truly random instead of only differing between a handful like the current system does. Also changed hand models to the one's used in STCoP as the vanilla hand models are ugly.
I also added a new anomaly to the game that I guess the Lost Alpha team never got around to implementing but had written a basic script for: Rusty fog. When you walk through it your helmet, outfit, and guns will be slowly have their condition degrade until you move out of it. I may expand this to have it affect items in your backpack as well as making a new variable for outfits and gear that will help to protect against the corrosion. Haven't decided where to place them yet.
In terms of the engine, with some help I recently made a big update.
Here is a list of all the features:
- Re-working of sun cascades and shadowing in DX10 as well as several visibility rendering bugs fixed.
- All renderers have more prominent shadows now (noticed no drain on performance personally).
- Added cloud shadows (called sun mask internally) as a console command that was also added to Advanced Video options along with many other new options Burguois has brought to the various menus.
- Replaced OpenAL32 with OpenAL Soft. It adds software based HRTF for headphones, as well as 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound capabilities. I have not yet implemented those three things into xrSound, but will soon. Currently it has a small bug where it won't let you pick your sound card device if you have one instead of OpenAL Soft, but that will be fixed long before this mod is ready ;)
- Added g_spawn_antifreeze as a new command line option. This allows for staggered spawning instead of all at once, which decreases stuttering. On some systems it can cause rare crashes which is why it's disabled by default. System invented by Alpet and then ported and tweaked by avotishin. All I did was add it as a command line option with help from Alundaio.
- Tweaked AI by Alundaio.
- Consumable items with icons greater than 1x1 dimensions will no longer crash the game when dragged onto a quick slot (thanks for this Alundaio).
- And miscellaneous other goodies :)
Future plans by Burguois and myself:
- Giving Nimble a new purpose in life beyond selling special weapons. Burguois has a couple good ideas on what we can do with him.
- Implement a new Fallout system that works randomly through weather configs during appropriate weather cycles.
- Add more properties to PDA.
- Add weapon hud collision like in Lost Alpha.
- Add bloodmarks to bodies (not promising this as it's a lot of work).
- Create new ambient sound system where all sounds come from a source. Crickets will have a specific place where they are, a monster growl will be from that monster, etc. (don't worry burguois, I'll be doing this myself, lol). Got this idea from the recent Ray of Hope update, so thanks to them!
- Maybe make it so that NPC's wearing normal exo suits can't sprint? That or maybe it's random, some can some can't? Seems like not everyone should have bought the sprint ability yet.
- Add HRTF, 5.1, 7.1 functions in xrSound.
- Increase amount of multi-threading used in COP (it does use 2 threads, it just doesn't add much to the second thread).
Now for some important information.
Due to some changes, this mod will not work on Windows XP. I'm sorry for Windows XP owners, but that OS is now 13 years old, time to update (and sorry for those that can't, I know what it's like to be poor).
Also, I had to remove the static lighting renderer. It was making changes too complicated and quite frankly I believe DX8 is even older than Windows XP. I know a lot of laptop users use Static Lighting, but the DX9 "Objects Dynamic Lighting" option is still available. Try using that and messing with the settings to get it to play well for you.
Another thing you should know is that provided I can find 64-bit versions of code for all the 3rd party extensions Stalker uses, I'd like to convert to 64-bit. What I will do is release both 32-bit and 64-bit versions with the installer so you can choose what works for you.
That's it for now. Before I go though I want to ask more people to vote in the poll I left in our forum, as well as provide some feedback. You can find said poll here: Moddb.com
I'd also like to give special thanks to burguois, Alundaio, and avotishin, without which this would just be a simple weapons mod instead of the monster this is becoming :D
Monday Edit: We lost a tester and could use another one. PM to apply giving your full system specs including OS, how much time you have available for testing, and anything else we need to know. It's important that you try and squeeze in time to test at least a couple times a week as we're always adding new features that need testing!