Hello again, CHKN Army friends!
Thank you so much for all your continued feedback while we work on the game in Early Access. We say it a lot, but we’ll keep saying it because you guys are awesome. Watching you play, hearing your thoughts, and getting your bug reports early has really been a big help so far in the development of CHKN.
We’re seeing more questions about multiplayer and lag, so we wanted to give you an update on those specifically. We also have some bug fixes to recap and a note on controller support.
There’s a lot to get to (and some of it is a bit technical, for those of you who care about that stuff), so grab some popcorn and let’s get started!
We released multiplayer in its early alpha state so that we could get your help identifying network and stability issues, or anything else that might interfere with the fun parts of up to four players hanging out, surviving, and making abominations together. Thanks to your reports, we’ve got a plan in place to make things more stable and allow more people to play with it.
- Switch to Steam Peer-to-Peer Networking & Matchmaking: This is our first step in upgrading multiplayer. When the game tries to load big chunks of data from the server for both players, the current library can’t handle the load and freaks out, making everything disappear or lag. We’re going to replace that library outright with Steam’s, which can handle that load much better. As a bonus, this also happens to be the first step toward real matchmaking! You’ll be able to find games to join and friends to play with through the user interface, instead of having to host a server/open a port/muck about with IP addresses manually. (This week we tested out a first pass of matchmaking and it looks promising).
- Optimize: Once the switch is done, we can start tackling general bugs with things like networking and null exceptions and anything else that causes poor performance in multiplayer. Your bug reports will be really helpful here!
We’ll be working on some of this with the help of Unity (the game engine we use for CHKN) and it will go a long way toward making things more reliable so more of you can test it out. Our goal is to have multiplayer upgraded before the end of the summer. *fingers crossed* We’ll keep you posted!
Your reports have helped us identify a few places where lag (a.k.a framerate drops) can occur and what we can do to improve them. They are:
- World loading: moving from one “chunk” of the world to another, making data load and unload as you travel around. You might see a temporary drop in framerate when this happens or trees popping in from seemingly out of nowhere, for example. We’ll continue to optimize and improve this system so the loading occurs seamlessly (without you noticing).
- Shader loading: when you encounter an object with a shader that hasn’t loaded yet (like when you move underwater or see a dragon breathe fire for the first time that session). The framerate may drop temporarily or objects may appear wonky while this loading is happening. We’re going to move this to the beginning, when the game first loads, so that it doesn’t cause issues while you’re playing.
- Creature overload: when there are tons of creatures loaded into one area. It’s possible in this case that framerates may consistently drop and not recover (to the point where you have to restart the game). This is more common on older machines with slower processors, but we want to rewrite and optimize creature animation so that it’s much lighter and will run faster on all machines.
- Distant graphics loading: where things far away in the world load, even if you can’t see them. You might see drops in framerate while looking at dense clumps of objects (like a bunch of trees and creatures) as a result. We’re still looking at the best way to tackle this, like a distance loading “drop off point” or detail settings in the options, but we’re on it! In the meantime, we know that graphics cards can effect this (older cards worsen the drops in framerate), so playing on lower graphics settings can reduce those framerate drops for you for now.
Our goal is to optimize these a little with every patch and you’ll see improvements over time, so we’ll keep relying on your help to let us know about any framerate trouble you experience as we go along. Thanks for being patient while we work on improving this for those of you experiencing these issues!
If you haven’t read the earlier patch notes, here are some interesting bugs that you helped us eradicate over the last couple weeks:
- Fixes to structures (Doors and gates are working properly now and fixed issue where lantern could not attach to floor).
- The Octocrabs had no chill, so now they attack much later in the game
- Mouths bite every second instead of every frame, so they are less overpowered when attaching structures.
- Can connect to Multiplayer (still in alpha test state!)
- Creature hunger bar now moves when fed
- Fixed an issue where you suddenly couldn’t look left and right (caused by a saddle glitch of all things)
- Structure data no longer corrupts saves
- Creatures no longer freeze when starving
- Creature necks no longer helicopter when tracking a target
- Fixes to fruits not being able to be picked
- Created a new save format so players no longer lose their saves and have to start over.
As always, please post any bugs you run across to the Bug Report SubThread in the forum and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
To answer the questions we’ve gotten about this, controllers currently do not work with CHKN. There is no joystick binding, so you can’t look around (making the game unplayable using a controller). We’ll need to make our own input manager in order to allow rebinding so that you can map your own controllers and so that we can custom map one for you. Partial support is coming soon.
Thanks again for all your help with reporting bugs and issues. Your continued support is very motivating! If you come across an issue, please don’t hesitate to let us know in the appropriate thread and we’ll do our best to get it fixed.