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Development Blog
October 31, 2014 By: David Tse By: David Tse

The Kickstarter is finally live! Even if your not interest in pledging the video does show all the new stuff that's in Pre-Alpha 4!

For those of you who preordered before the Kickstarter things might get a little complicated, but you will end up with more stuff for being an earlier supporter. First off all of you will get a free tier upgrade!

You can pledge on the Kickstarter and whatever you pledge on there will be added to the $25(new price of the game) you already pledged by being a preorderer. Then whatever tier that is will be upgraded one. Unless it's the $255 tier. If you have any questions about this please leave them in the comments.

October 22, 2014 By: David Tse

In just 9 days I will be officially launching the Kickstarter for Survive! It's been a long time coming and it feels really great to be so close!

Over the last two months I've been working on Pre-Alpha 4, the last build before the Kickstarter. This update is absolutely massive and has just been uploaded to steam for those of you who have already preordered!

The update is all about revamping the zombies. With some new modular models and variation textures there are now thousands of different zombie variations! If you look hard you can still find Carl wandering around! When you shoot a zombie now, it gets bloody, plays an awesome particle effect attached to its body, and does a dynamic hit reaction depending on where you shot him. Because of these improvements zombies now only die from headshots! Zombies are also saved now, so whenever you leave the game and come back the zombies are in the same places. In addition to all this awesome new gameplay stuff there has been a huge number of fixes, general improvements, and performance optimizations!

New Zombies

This build right now is a little unfinished. There are a few more bugs than usual, and there are still some things that need to be added and fixed before it's totally finished. That's why over this next week leading up to the Kickstarter on the 31st, I'll be releasing small polish updates that fix bugs and add some new stuff. That's also why there won't be a pre-alpha video to go along with this update just yet. If you have not preordered you will be able to see the latest state of the game in the Kickstarter video.

I hope you guys are as excited as I am for the kickstarter, and I can't wait for all of you to play this huge update(bugs and all!)

Release Notes:
  • Fixed an issue where if you had multiple save files with different seeds it would load cache files for different saves which would result in that cell getting wildly wrong height data causing crazy floating terrain.
  • Fixed a bug on the main menu where the buttons didn't completely cover the text
  • Upgraded to the latest version of physx fixing a large number of bugs and improving performance.
  • Implemented an auto-ragdoll generation that can create ragdolls for any skeleton and model. This has replaced the old ragdoll and is significantly more stable and realistic. This generation will save a lot of time when adding new zombies or NPCs to the game in the future.
  • Preloaded the gun particle effects so there is no lag spike on the first shot anymore.
  • Extended the debug line drawing system so now I can render different batches of lines that can be persistent from frame to frame and can be rendered without depth.
  • Implemented ray model intersection.
  • Implemented a skinned raycast on the cpu so when you shoot you are actually shooting the animated zombie model so you get accurate decal placement and particle effect direction.
  • Fixed deffered decals and made it so they now correctly effect normals and gloss of what they are covering.
  • Changed M4 magazine capacity to 15 from 30 and changed it to be semi-automatic. This is one of many changes coming to get the gameplay in line with what I want it to be. Where scarcity is a big issue. later you can find higher cap magazines and conversion kits to full auto.
  • Disabled all debug keys by default so you cant mess things up by pressing random keys. If you want to use them you can enable them by pressing CTRL+ALT+ENTER+SHIFT
  • Adjusted the placement of the gun on the screen using the golden ratio so it feels better and will be more consistent between different guns.
  • Adjusted the FOV of the gun rendering and the gun aim
  • turned down the hover sound volume on menu gui and changed it
  • Reworked the world shift system now instead of moving all the objects by hand I shift the actual origin of the physx world. This fixes a large number of glitches with zombies when moving from one world cell to another.
  • Implemented a binary model save function
  • Drastically reduced CPU ram usage by optimizing certain things and fixing some memory leaks. 1200mb to around 600mb.
  • made it so you cant create a save and ovewrite an existing one, and so you cant create a save with no name.
  • Added (optional) to the world seed in the character creation so you know you dont have to enter a seed.
  • Enter can create a new game instead of click on the button
  • Reworked the zombie system so each world cell spawns zombies when it's generated. This way I can carefully control how zombies are spawned instead of a blanket zombie distribution throughout the world. Right now zombies are mostly spawned in the "plains" and the "hills" biomes to simulate how there will be more zombies in the cities.
  • Save games have now moved into their own folders so zombies can be saved per save without having to complicate it by making one large binary file for the whole save. Instead zombie cells are each saved in their own file so they can be quickly streamed. So each save game now has its own file with the same fsc file plus the zombie cell files. If you want to use an old save you can copy the fcs file into a folder with the same name and it should load just fine.
  • Zombies are now saved! As you play the game and kill zombies and clear areas everything will be saved. So when you load up the game and go to the same place the zombies you killed will still be dead. This system also saves the ragdoll skeletons so the bodies you leave behind will be exactly where you expect them to be.
  • Fixed an issue with zombie and player movement where any small movements would have been ignored. Now both the players and the zombies will now have uninterrupted movements with no glitches.
  • Completely reworked the animation system fixing many timing and blending issues.
  • Converted the internal representation of bone orientations from matrix to quaternion and position.
  • Skeletons are now blended using their local poses like they should be resulting in smooth blends without the horrible distortion when trying to lerp matricies.
  • Dynamic decal system for the zombies has been added. You can now shoot a zombie and a decal will be rendered exactly where you shot on the zombie. This is different than the deferred decal system because these decals have to perfectly conform to the animated zombie. So it renders decals to a new texture that is overlayed on top of the zombie.
  • fixed grass placement and orientation. I used barycentric coordinates(also used for texture coord calculation for the skinned decals on the zombies) to get the correct height position in between height samples on the CPU and quaternions to do the orientation.
  • When shifting world cells it will now shift vertically to center around the origin. Fixes floating point precision issues when you are too far from the origin vertically.
  • Cube map now raycasts down every update so it's always above the terrain. fixes issues where its rendered under the terrain and everything is lit wrong.
  • Used the new animation system to do a dynamic bullet hit reaction by blending between the ragdoll and the animations. Right now this only effects the upper body. In the future hitting the legs will knock a zombie down and it will then crawl after you or try to get back up.
  • Particle effects can now be attached to the oebject they hit like decals. Using this with zombies to attach blood spray effects creating awesome blood fountains in the bullets holes created by the new dynamic zombie decal system.
  • Reduced shadow rendering time from 7.5ms to about 1.2ms /w no visual impact by staggering cascade updates based on distance from the player.
  • Removed the Off option for shadows, now the low shadow option is just staggered more. So the zombies will update much less frequently but the performance impact is very low.
  • Fixed an issue where the mask for the sandy areas where being generated in the shader so every time you shifted world cells it would not shift. This mask is now generated at terrain generation time and is also used to place grass.
  • Grass now uses the above mentioned mask to only be placed on the grassy part of the terrain.
  • redesigned the menu, it's much more streamlined and to the point. I think it looks much better. The changelist has also been moved to the loading screen so you don't spend time reading it then press play. Now you can spend the time in the loading screen reading about what's new instead of doing it before.
  • converted all of the textures in the game to DDS format so now they load literally twice as fast as before. this will nock a significant chunk off the loading times.
  • removed some legacy stuff that was getting loaded before the menu causing the wait to be longer than it needed to be.
  • Fixed some rendering issues when switching from one world cell to another. The transition should now be completely invisible.
  • Completely reworked the zombie system so now body parts and different clothes can be randomly swaped between new zombies. I also added a bunch of new models for the zombies to use this system.

September 9, 2014 By: David Tse

The new payment system is finished! This was the last thing I had to do on the new website, so now I am back to working only on Survive!

This new system supports Google Wallet, Paypal, and Amazon Payments. I'm sure its not that exciting for those of you who already bought Survive, but this will allow everyone who wants to help support the game do so much easier and smoothly. I'm very proud of this system and it should not have to be touched for at least a couple of years.

All the old accounts have been migrated to the new system. So if you had an account in the old system you can recover your steam key here.

Now I'm off to go pick up destiny and get a few hours in before I start work on the new update!

September 1, 2014 By: David Tse

It's been two years, almost to the day, since the launch of the original website and the start of full time development on Survive. So it seems like the perfect time to move into the next stage of development. This next phase is largely about building and city generation which means I need a lot more models and textures. Which also means I need more money to pay people to make these assets. So sometime in the next month I will be launching the Survive Kickstarter!

I spent the last two months working on this fancy new website and the new community forums in preparation for the Kickstarter. I also spent a lot of time working on the Kickstarter itself so there is no new update to release right now.

There will be more details on the Kickstarter soon, but right now let me just say that if you have already preordered or if you preorder before the Kickstarter you will get a tier upgrade as thanks for being an early supporter. So if you pledge on Kickstarter you will get rewards based on the reward tier above the one you pledge for. I really appreciate all of you who have supported the game in its initial stages so you will also be getting early access to the multiplayer beta along with many more things in the future.

Whats on The New Site

The biggest addition is the new Community Forum! The forums are exactly what you would expect, a place for you to talk about Survive or anything else with other people excited for the game so head over there and sign-up! I try to read everything you all ask and post about the game, but there is so much it's easy for me to miss stuff. So if you have any questions or bugs to report please do it on these forums! Also if you are a preorderer you can access the preorderer only forums and your drm-free download by linking your steam account to your forum account.

Other than the obvious facelift to the main site I also added a FAQ and a Development Roadmap. The FAQ is exactly what it says, just a list of frequently asked questions about Survive and it's development. The Development Roadmap is my way of trying to give you all a better picture of what I'm currently working on and the plans for the future. There you can see exactly what I'm currently working on at a low level, what features I've added to the game since the last release, what's going to be in the next updates, and a high level overview of the planned features for the game as a whole.

Right now i'm working on finishing the new Survive purchase page. Its not done yet because there are a good amount of things relating to payment method integration's that are much easier once the site is live, but it should not take too long to finish. Once that's done I'll be doing the improved zombie killing update along with a large amount of polish in preparation for the Kickstarter. Like I said before if you want to see more details about this update or follow what I'm working on more closely you can use the new Development Roadmap!

Don't forget to join the new Community Forums to talk to me and everyone else who is excited for Survive!

July 11, 2014 By: David Tse

As a lot of you know Survive is using a custom game engine called Titan Engine. It is written completely by me from scratch. There have been some comments claiming that the game is running on Unity so I made a quick video showing the build process to put them to an end.

It is a rather dull video so I would only recommend it if you believe the game uses Unity, if you want to see some of the engine code/files for future hacking, or if you are just bored.

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