Dean “Rocket” Hall and the rest of the crew at Bohemia Interactive working on DayZ managed to get a full team upgrade back in March. While we thought this was just a complimentary thing to help speed along development, it was actually done so that they could quickly overhaul and upgrade the core engine that powers the game.
PC Gamer grabbed some significant quotes from a Reddit AMA where Hall – who is expected to leave the DayZ production cycle after the game is stabilized – commented about the new engine, saying that...
“I guess the big news that we’ve been telling here at E3 is that we’re actually moving to a new engine,”..."It is called [Enfusion]. So that is going to allow us to do DirectX 10 and 11. It is going to allow us to do dynamic lighting, which means no more flashlights going through walls, proper dynamic shadows, stuff like that."
It's not really a “new” new engine, but rather a “new” version of the old engine since it's been iterated on so much that it's no longer the same thing. You know, sort of like what the Source is now compared to what it used to be or how id Tech used to be known as the Quake Engine way back in the day? Same thing.
DayZ producer Brian Hicks further explains to make it easy to digest for the non-techies, writing...
“Over the last many months, extensive clean up, new functionality, and so forth has been created for that engine - while at the same time, vast amounts of it were removed, or rewritten entirely. The changes Dean spoke of entail major leaps forward in that work, with those changes and the many more that will come through out development - we have begun to approach the point in which DayZ's engine is so no longer recognizable as RV, and because of that - and the massive work to come, it is now known by its own name, Enfusion."
So how and when will gamers get to see the benefit of this new engine? Sooner than you think. Dean is pushing out the content “in a modular fashion over time.”
Modular engine updates will enable the team to implement new code or features in parts without disrupting the rest of the game. In theory, this means that DayZ players will get updates a lot faster and in greater abundance than before.
But that's not all. The team has also made the leap up into 64-bit server architecture, which means that they can make use of more RAM and end-users with big rigs will begin to see much better returns on their hardware investment. Sadly, this also means that the game may or may not be as 32-bit friendly once the 64-bit implementation is complete. As of right now, only the testing has been completed, so the roll-out of the new 64-bit servers should be coming soon.
So what are the benefits of a 64-bit server? It means more items, more loot, better AI pathfinding across the map nodes, as well as more zombies populating areas in larger groups. In other words, DayZ is about to go full-blown zombie apocalypse mode.
According to Dean...
“We’re pretty much bound at the moment in terms of performance, with some RAM boundaries. 64 Bit does really necessary help us with performance. It opens the doors for once we deal with the performance issues we can then triple the number of loot spawns, triple the number of zombies and animals.”
That's great news for anyone who's been waiting for DayZ to mimic the dangerous and intensity of the show The Walking Dead. It also looks like H1Z1 will no longer be competing against the gimped version of DayZ, but it will soon be competing against the game sporting all the features that made it famous in the first place.