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Development Diary #2

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Development Diary #2

Hey there folks, we've got a long awaited development diary update. Unfortunately due to the Kickstarter we ended up spending a lot of our time in September organizing licensing, legal documents, setting up a proper backend for our website, meeting with lots of people that have applied to us as developers, and much more. Regardless of how this has removed a lot of time from our schedule we've been able to accomplish a few large undertakings, including weather effects and a geographically accurate sky system.




New Sky System

In preparation for weather being fully integrated into our game @<Chaoss>  has created a brand new Sky System, instead of preset values this new system is now driven from real world data. This means that nights during the winter will be long and dark, nights during the summer will only ever experience very dim twilight as Alberta, Canada is entirely north of the 49th parallel.



As a bonus feature, you can now navigate using a physically accurate starmap. We've spent some time looking for constellations and had quite a bit of fun doing so.





Porosity Driven Material Weather Effects

Thanks to the work done by @Yad a few weather-specific features have been added to our master material. The first thing we've added is a rain animation, this produces raindrops atop horizontal surfaces and running water along sloped + vertical surfaces. The next feature we've added to our materials is the accumulation of snow, which is based on the slope of the object. We've also combined both the wetness variable and the snowiness in the material to create a new property for the material (slush). What's also nice about the snow is that it simulates a 'speckle' effect dependent on viewing angle, which you can see demonstrated in this gif.




Although the values are controlled manually for now, these values can be animated through our weather controller and tied with additional effects such as weather particles, which you'll soon see fully integrated in an upcoming update.



Additional Building Set

Ontop of all the work @<Chaoss> has been doing, he's created an additional building set. We're going to be expanding this so that it can be recolored and tons of different variations can be easily derived from it to populate our world. We'll be expecting a lot of world iteration coming up in October.




Network Optimizations and World Expansion

Our lead programmer @jooni has some notes on the programming he's been doing this month. Despite a sinus infection he's still managed to get quite a lot done!



I've been working on network optimizations for our Inventory system. It was in a functioninal yet rough state for the Kickstarter, the gun I held in the gameplay video was actually dragged in from a backpack I was wearing ingame. The only drawback to the system we were using is that every item was an actor, no items were ever 'sleeping' and this would potentially cause a massive strain on the network for the amount of items we intend to have on the map in the near future.


My solution is that I've written an Actor Component that stores an array of structs that contain a ClassID and two bytes of data with an option for additional data to be appended. Only the items that are currently in a players inventory will be converted to actors, this preserves all of the previous flexibility and functionality of our inventory system. I have to rewrite the crafting system to reflect the new system as crafting benches will now need to use the struct based system. I will also need to rewrite the UI which is why I don't have any meaty screenshots for this.


According to a few stress tests, the new system allows for an extreme amount of items to be present on the map before the network comes close to being under any sort of strain. This is a massive for us and ensures that we'll be able to keep the amount of depth we have planned for our inventory system.

The UI isn't ready to show off at all and I was not able to put a lot of time into it due to having a sinus infection.


Player Status Component

I've gone ahead and changed a few things on the Player Status Component, which is responsible for keeping track of a players health making it extremely lightweight on bandwidth. I also added some disease transmission options, a basic example that I created using this system is a simple cold being spread by coughing. Masks will mitigate the spread of colds and other diseases. Adding any new factor into this is incredibly simple. I try to make it so all of our code is as modular as possible in order to make sure we can very quickly iterate new features.


World Expansion

At the start of the month I made some changes to Unreal Engine itself earlier this month and expanded the maximum world size to be 1.5x larger than the former world maximum world size. I also got client origin shifting working properly (after some minor adjustments), this allows us to have a much more massive world than we'll ever need. The reason I expanded the map was to allow us to expand our map in the future, it also fixes a lot of issues that prevented us from using Cascaded Shadow Maps as well as all floating point precision issues. It took a little bit of debugging for some minor networking issues but after an hour I got it all committed and ready to go.


I've also started to make some changes to the way our world is loaded. I will go into more detail regarding this in a future dev diary.


Website and Backer Data Backend

There's been a lot of work going into our backend, we were originally going to use a third party service for distributing keys, however we decided that it would result in a far more money being invested in development if we did the website/backend up ourselves. We ended up deciding to maintain independence and maximize our freedom as well as maximize the amount of money going into the game itself we would be better off creating our own backend, even if it did take a little longer than using a third party service.


Another added benefit is we will soon have a system for players to submit support tickets that will have an active staff to guide people to proper answers. This ensures that answers to common questions can easily be handed out, and that complex questions can also be easily answered. Even name change requests for the relevant backer tiers can be submitted via this system.


We will be using backer data to build the accounts and make sure that people are marked as owning the relevant tier that they paid for so that no matter what we will be able to deliver exactly what people paid for in a very easy manner. You will be emailed when this system is up and running, please allow us some time to make sure it works properly as fixing problems that arise is a lot more difficult and time consuming than ensuring none exist to begin with.




This month has been incredibly busy for us with things outside of Dead Matter. We plan on having meatier and more frequent updates for October. We'll be trying to make sure that we balance creating the content and updating our community to minimize the amount of stress currently placed on our developers. We hope to see you back for the next update :)

Edited by Yad
crediting myself >:3

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This was an amazing and exiting post, very informative.


I am very excited about the Porosity Driven Material Weather Effects and the website and Backer Data Backend. 


The player status component sounds good, but I would hate having a cold or flu in game. 

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Awesome! Thanks so much for the update guys. Really impressed with the updates and as usual with the dev team's way of thinking, always considering the future. This game is going to be the best :D

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I was pretty annoyed when the Kickstarter app on my phone woke me up with an update notification because I thought it was the millionth update for Pathfinder: Kingmaker.


Needless to say, finding out that it was actually an update for Dead Matter was a pleasant surprise.


I won't lie to you, boys, I'm a little moist right now.

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hi, french member/backer here :)


I really appreciate the details of update, take your time for development and keep making us salivate :P


for UI i can help you if ever you want, i work with photoshop / illustrator. In any case I wish you good luck and encourages you fully.

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The development team has been working so hard! This is astonishing for how few people you guys have to work with, and I can’t believe how far you guys have come! I feel certain that by Q1 2018, backers will have a very well patched beta in their hands. Congratulations Dead Matter staff!

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Good stuff, I'm excited - especially over the new sky system.  That's the kind of detailed work that makes me very happy to see, and makes me extremely eager to play.  Thanks very much for the news, I'll be looking forward to your future updates.

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Great update, devs! Wow, I can't wait to see the next one. 


It was kind of snuck in there, but the bit about spreading sickness and being mitigated by wearing masks in awesome. It gives use to cosmetic items like make that many like to wear and adds a layer of risk to who you allow in your group. 

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