The long awaited development which was inspired by one of the most popular mods that a game has ever known continues to grow, even since its E3 presentation, into what will eventually be the standalone version of DayZ. DayZ is an open-world, online zombie survival shooter in which players must ensure that they can stay alive in an environment filled with not only the vicious former-human monsters which dwell in it, but also other players who are fighting for their lives and may not always be too willing to share kind words… The game has already gained quite the following from fans of the Arma II from which it has been born, but lead developer Dean Hall was on hand at Rezzed, with the most recent version of DayZ updated just an hour before hand, to update gamers on what work has been going into the development of the game and answer their questions
Some of the key developments which were presented in the session surrounded objects and weapons in-game. Firstly Dean showed us how the walkie-talkie device which could be used in game could pick up pirate radio stations, and the way that audio distancing had been programmed to work. Having found a classic 80s music station, much to the delight of the audience, the system by which moving away from or towards a sound source would decrease or increase what could be heard was shown. This is an impressive and ambitious feature to see coming from a former mod developer’s project, and it worked incredibly well. Objects which produce sound will attract zombies in the game too, another new feature. These walkie-talkies can be used to speak to other players in the game over a certain range, which is one of several ideas being put into the game to encourage players not to simply shoot each other on sight.
A lot of work has been going into the objects in the game in terms of their appearance. The developers have gone for a low polygon but high detail design, which they believe will ensure that the game runs at adequate speeds on some lower spec systems. Several new weapons and ideas are being introduced to DayZ in the standalone, but a more civilian-style gameplay is also being focused on. This means that some weapons may be extremely rare, with only one of them being in the server at any one time or example, so that players who are intended as civilian characters in the game cannot be armed as a super soldier. The server is likely to control the number of any one item in the game at any one time, which should also force a stop to users spawning in their own equipment. Items in the game may also be spawned in random locations so that spawn maps cannot be created to find these rarer items. The hope is that this rarity system may also promote trading among players, for example rarer drugs in the game creating a need for trades. Further to these changes, work has gone into the idea of crafting weaponry from more general objects, such as improvised explosive devices, in order to give a more varied style of play as well as expanding on the civilian feel being created.
Some of the systems going into the new game are incredibly detailed and complex. One example which really caught some attention is the foot condition factor which is to become an important new feature. The footwear that a player uses can influence the condition of their feet, with certain terrains and movement styles wearing both the footwear and the player’s feet down over time. Wear and tear is to be made visible visually so that other players can even see when each other are in trouble in this way. Another feature is going to be the player remaining in the world for a short time after logging out to prevent people leaving the game during a fight in order to save their possessions. This was a popular new idea in the Rezzed talk, this being one of the most irritating problems for gamers in the current DayZ mod.
With such deep systems being created, you have to question how much longer the game is going to take to put together, how it will run when it is finished, and whether it ever truly will be 100% complete even after its release. One problem which the game is seeing at present, which became evident in the Q&A session at the end of the talk at Rezzed, is that it is being closely compared to the new Arma III alpha release. This is making it difficult it seems for the game to present itself as an independent, standalone production, and it will be interesting to see how the developers get past this apparent obstacle which mod fans have in their minds. As a standalone game DayZ is showing some promise though. It appears to be very early days, with a lot of half working systems and animations in place and placeholder menus still being used fir the time being. We may have to wait some time for the final game to reach us, but there seem to be high hopes that a playable alpha version of the game will be available to fans in the near future.
Check out the full conference Here