Russia has frozen over for the winter! It's cold enough that a swim is an easy way to freeze yourself, but on land you should be fine - aside from the restricted visibility! The Festive Gift Present is also dropping again with some new skins and elf outfit, although at a 50% chance rather than the usual 100% because the event is longer than previously. A few curated workshop items were accepted this week, but there will be another wave next week so get yours in as soon as possible if you're working on a holiday themed item!
Added Festive Russia map.
Added Festive Gift Present to drops with some new items inside.
Added 10x higher detail versions of every tree model and option to enable them.
Added graphics option for wind quality, low being the old windy foliage option.
Added rewritten higher performance/quality grass/foliage system, more info below.
Accepted a few festive themed curated workshop skins.
BattlEye security update. (for all BattlEye protected games)
Tweaked several large boulders to have landmark LODs.
Temporarily disabled ambient occlusion in forward render mode.
Fixed items in storage getting dropping in the wrong spot when an attached vehicle was destroyed.
Fixed standing inside door when placed.
Fixed unable to interact with mannequins.
Fixed dropping window tabs into the wrong slot.
Fixed loading BattlEye from non-ANSI paths.
Fixed another animation issue with left-handed driving.
Fixed connect screen missing gold message.
Fixed mixed-up insanimus grizzly IDs.
Fixed 4th terrain mask sampling 3rd.
Fixed slightly incorrect landscape splatmap to world coordinates.
Fixed a splatmap brush blending issue, added normalize button for repair.
TL;DR: Try out "New Trees - Blending Off" with wind quality "Low" and see if your computer can handle it!
You might remember a bit over a year ago I experimented with some alternate appearances for the trees which got everyone excited, but this week I actually upgraded every single tree and got them into the game! There are two graphics options related to these: tree quality and wind quality.
Legacy tree quality will use the original models. Blending off uses the new models, but with sharp transitions between LODs, whereas blending on smoothly grows out tree details as you get closer at a significant performance cost. Changing tree quality requires a game restart to take effect. Using the old tree models will still use the new tree hitboxes, however.
Wind quality is the bigger peformance drain. Low is equivelant to the old windy foliage setting, but won't apply any wind to the new tree models. Ultra looks really fantastic especially in very windy conditions like in a storm or next to a helicopter hovering - the trunk bends to the wind, branches swaying slightly and leaves rustling.
TL;DR: If your GPU supports instancing check out the higher performance/quality grass on Devtest4! Note that the new grass wind/displacement shader isn't properly finished yet, however.
This is where I spent most of my time this week, rewriting the grass/foliage system. The current maps PEI, Washington, etc all use Unity's built-in terrain grass (Devtest4 is using the new system), but this rewrite is a big upgrade in every way:
The old grass has a significant FPS stutter when a new camera is enabled (equipping a scoped weapon) and when moving around the terrain, which are no longer present in the new one. Foliage information occupies only a small amount of memory and is streamed in/out on a separate thread as you travel the map. Rendering is done with hardware instancing, although note that this means grass performance will likely be worse than before for you if your GPU doesn't support instancing (and much better than before if it does). You can check the instancing performance difference with the foliage.force_instancing_off command.
Another limitation of the built-in terrain grass was that it could only be placed/baked onto the ground, but now the new grass will automatically be generated both on the landscape and any surface with foliage information like the grass meshes used for overhangs or above tunnels/caves. Foliage baking rules are also much better than before where each surface (terrain material, object) references a foliage collection asset which contains a list of different foliage asset types like grass, rocks, bushes, trees, etc which then can each have different rules about where/how they are placed. Those classes can also be extended for very customized situations.
The next terrain upgrade will focus on making all these assets easy to create, converting trees to the new system (same baking rules as other foliage, for example: create a grass object, bake foliage and automatically the grass object will have grass/pebbles/trees/bushes on it), hopefully adding the foliage brush (paint foliage/trees wherever you like, useful for foliage covered cities, not removed when baking), minor features like a graphics option to draw grass at scope focus (zoom in with binoculars far away and still load grass there) and most importantly starting to convert the existing official maps to the new landscape and foliage features.
If you try baking foliage in the devkit on a custom map it will currently freeze up for a while, but don't worry it hasn't crashed. A future update will add a progress bar for this.