v040 - Lucy Mode
Hello again, everyone! Welcome to the first update of 2019!
This is one of those updates where I feel like I really didn't add enough... and then I look at the change log and realize that there's a LOT in here. I just can't decide which is my favorite addition. Is it the massively improved performance? How about the grass, is that my new favorite addition? Could it be the additional locomotion options? Maybe it's the 3rd person spectator screen? Though, it's probably the Suggested Stick Length option.
Whether it's any of that stuff or not, this sure is a strong update. I mean, we're hitting 90fps on minimum spec machines... with dynamic shadows and foliage enabled! We managed to pull that off by making a bunch of tweaks. A lot of time was spent dialing in custom LODs for every mesh. Textures were overhauled (particularly the landscape textures) to remove normals at a distance and increase quality up close. We also added a new Quality Settings menu for quick access to all the features that can crush performance. By default, everything is cranked way up. So, if you experience framerate drops, check out the new options.
Speaking of foliage, this time around we added grass! A lot of lush, dense grass! For sure, it looks gorgeous. At least to my biased eyes. But the best part is that it comes with quality settings that will help you scale it to fit the capabilities of your machine. We got the foliage to be as performant as possible by using a simple texture and a single triangle for every blade of grass. We also carefully tuned for optimal cull distance.
Ok, so performance isn't your bag? Well, there's fun stuff too. There are two brand new types of locomotion in here (again)! This time we added Sampled Locomotion (which maintains your initial movement vector to free up the use of your hands and head). We also brought out support for using a single Vive Tracker as a belt buckle. Check out the new locomotion styles and see how they work out for you. Though, you'll still probably want to use Targeted Locomotion to maintain control of the ball.
Into streaming? How about just watching your friends play? We got you. Try out the new 3rd Person Spectator Screen. It's super cool and makes it easier to see what's happening in the game. If you make any fun videos of yourself playing, send them our way! We'd love to see how it's going for you.
So, which is your favorite? Just kidding. We know it's Lucy Mode. You'll have to get to the secret menu to enable it. I wonder where that is...
Until next time, kiddos! Have fun!
+ Added Vive Tracker Support
+ Added HMD Sampled Locomotion
+ Added Click to Sprint option
+ More performant Landscape texture
+ Added LODs for most meshes
+ Adjusted distance fields
+ Added 3D grass
+ Improved underlying Grass texture
+ Snow textures
+ Added street markings
+ Increased forest density
+ Trees, mailboxes, and signs now cast shadows
+ Added Shadow Quality setting
+ Added Foliage Quality setting
+ Fancier laser pointer
+ Animated materials for messages
+ Menu now orients correctly after exiting and reloading
+ Helmet no longer flickers while loading a level
+ Background kids don't turn into demons when in the shadows
+ Added camera fade when player resets
+ New 3rd Person Spectator Screen
+ Added Suggest Stick Size feature (needs testing)
+ Added Quality Settings menu
+ Added Lucy Mode
+ New Taskbar Icon
+ Initial ES3.1 support (potential performance boost/mobile port)
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