Pre-Alpha Devblog #5 (Workflow | Fortifications | AI)

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JB_

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Hello all,

Thanks for checking out our fifth devblog! The 0.8 fortification update is nearly ready for our experimental branch. We're hoping to have an experimental build next Friday. We are taking on new interns today! Marko and Rik arrived safely and mostly intact this morning. They’ll be getting settled over the weekend before being sized for intern cages..I mean starting with us Monday morning. This could put a kink in our experimental release but we think all should be fine. There will be an update to inform you regardless.

Some of you have asked about our workflow in the past. It's been something we speak about on Discord but never really did an update on. We’d like to talk a bit about that now. The community has provided us with a lot of bug reports over the last 10 months. This is how the process is currently working for us. Remember, nearly everything we do we’re doing for the first time. This is the current iteration of our workflow which is ever improving and expanding.

Workflow - Fixing those Pesky Bugs

When a player or one of us finds an issue a ticket is created. Player created tickets come from our bug tracker. Internally the team uses Trello to report issues. We also use Trello to report the player created tickets. There are 7 steps to getting a bug 'fixed' with our current workflow.

1. The Report - The bug is reported via our issue tracker.


Created for example (old tickets are destroyed on tracker)
2. Team Replication and Ticket Creation - If needed the team will attempt to replicate the issue typically only needed for obscure issues or badly written bug reports. Either way, we will create an internal ticket on Trello. This is done so the team isn't overloaded with ticket repeats and bad tickets. Trello is also integrated with concept and feature adding.


The internal ticket is created on Trello. More detail may be added here, concepts, ideas and the entire team has access.​

3. The Branch! A branch of the game is created and development on a fix begins. Survive the Nights is developed like most games in branches. All branching from a master branch (the project you play).

4. The Pull Request! Once the developer thinks he has a fix ready he then creates a pull request. Other team members can then check the fix in Unity and ensure all is well. At least two of us MUST test any fix. Once there are at least two approvals on the branch then the next step begins.


A pull request is created and ready for testing!
5. The Merge! After the original pull request is approved the branch can be merged into our Development Branch. This branch is for internal testing and is always the most up to date branch internally. The team and some mods will test this branch ensuring nothing major is wrong and ensuring the original fix is actually fixed! :)

6. Experimental Release! The game goes to experimental branch and is tested by backers who opt into testing for us. This is a great opportunity for a few more people to get their hands on it before it’s pushed to everyone's download/update queue. Our updates are always pretty large and sometimes issues are found in the experimental build. These issues are fixed via the same process and don’t make it to the next and final step. Some issues of course aren’t found and new ones are always lurking.

7. Default Branch! We’ll push the experimental build, update the build number and release a patch note on Steam's default branch. This is when the project goes live to all, regardless of the branch you’re in. The process starts all over again at this point.

That’s how the team fixes issues. It’s basically the same process for adding features. The new feature is developed in a Future/Feature/(FEATURE NAME) branch. Once the dev is happy with it the feature gets a pull request and the process to get the feature in game begins as listed above.

Fortification Improvements and Optimization

The team has been busy working on the fortification mechanic getting it ready for release. We've spent some time this week on optimizing planks and fortifications. Below you can see planks combine when a player isn't within interaction distance. You won't notice this happen in game but it turns potentially hundreds of game objects into just a handful, so that's good! Planks will uncombine when other players interact with them or when the player shoots them from a distance.


We've begun adding in world harvest machines. The player can harvest worn planks and nails from these. This will allow you to begin fortification without needing to fell a tree, it will also work great for quick repairs.


The player can gather word wooden planks and nails from wooden objects like tables, fences and junk piles.​

AI

We’re smoothing out new rigs and animations in preparation for 0.8. Zombies are now attacking, damaging and destroying planks in game. The gif below is solely to show the mechanic. We’ll tweak board strength along with other fortification materials together. Zombies will not ‘stack’ on windows or doorways. If there’s already a zombie attacking one window the next zombie will try and find another entrance or exit. You will have to defend all points of entry.


We're Hiring!
We're looking for help! If you are or know any programmers/unity developers looking for work in the UK please let us know. We're looking for like minded devs, the project is near and dear to us. The team is very small and being a team player is very important to us. If you'd like to send a CV to support@survivethenights.net please do so :)

As a reminder before we go, we'll be getting these devblogs out weekly. You can check our next set of goals and 0.8 progress whenever you'd like via the changelog. Thanks for checking in and the continued support!
 

Num47

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What? No. We can't stop here. This is bat country.
That trick with the planks for performance is a neat idea... I knew someone in that office isn't just a pretty face.
 

DZS

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Really good that you guys are sharing how your internal workflow operates. The AI is shaping up to be very good nothing like challenging AI. Sorian is the man but thats RTS. Fortification is gonna be great, love the idea of pulling nails/planks from world objects. I can see Nails are gonna become currency. Ive passed on your need for more people, hope you pull some talent. Again congrats to the new crew, im sure they wont bite you much
 
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JB_

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DZS

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Nails will be the new cigs. People be dismantling park benches everywhere. Can you nail me a fiver son? Is there enough iron in your diet? Call me a nail and hammer me stupid. Theres not enough nails in the world, anyone got a lite?

In a slightly unrelated way

dumb as a bag of hammers
adjectival clause describing someone who is superbly stupid

https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=dumb as a bag of hammers
 
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