As most of you may know, last week saw 0.55 pushed to stable branch. This build featured the initial implementation of several key systems to DayZ, and in turn their behavior is as expected very early prototype. As the Early Access of DayZ continues, more of the core systems that comprise it will be merged into the main stable branch. It goes without saying that iteration will both be required, and occur as these are merged in. For 0.55 lets take a look at what systems had their initial implementation, and how their behavior is as of this status report:
- Central Economy: The Central Economy functions as the core control over item type quantity, location, and region spawns. Moving away from the original placeholder system, and implementing this is the first step towards agile, rapid balancing of item spawns within DayZ.
The initial implementation only defines the location of firearm spawns and types, further iteration will begin to define items past firearms - and later region control across the map.
- Infected & Animal A.I.: A well known fact for awhile now, the original prototype A.I. that was deployed with the DayZ Early Access was not robust enough to support the design of the title. A complete rewrite from scratch on how the title handled this was required. The most obvious change on stable branch is in the detection, and quantity of the infected. The new system, although clearly in need of iteration and expansion - supports proper stealth mechanics for both A.I., as well as more resource friendly sensors.
The design and programming teams will continue to iterate, and balance the infected across the coming months as well as address core functionality issues such as positioning during pathfinding, and proper audio alerts.
- Per-Instance-Persistence: Part and parcel with the core design of DayZ is the global persistence of items (loot) in the game space. Be it long-life persistent objects such as those used in base building, or more short term such as items dropped on the ground and spawned by the central economy. 0.55 saw this roll out to Public Hive servers, with Private Shard support soon to follow. It is important to understand that this feature, just like all of the Early Access has no guarantee of bug-free behavior. Like anything within the development builds, bugs are both possible, and almost certainly will occur. Equally as important is that those who encounter issues file proper bug reports on the Feedback Tracker (feedback.dayzgame.com)
- Diseases & Disease Transfer: Another very early implementation that made it to stable branch with 0.55 was the global spread of cholera across Chernarus. Paired with the transfer between players and objects, and thus player to player disease transfer. As iteration upon this system continues you will begin to see a more diverse catalogue of diseases and corresponding symptoms.
Moving past the 0.55 build new system implementations we hit a rather hot button topic as of late, and one I promised to speak on earlier this week.
Just how hard is DayZ supposed to be? What is the targeted experience here? How valuable should items, and thus what I carry be to me as a player?
I like to think we're pretty up front about exactly what DayZ is and is supposed to be, and as we move closer to 1.0 more and more of this will begin to take shape.
Once, when asked how valuable tools and resources should be to a player - on a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is finding everything you need without issue, and 10 is elation over finding a can of beans (I'm paraphrasing here) Dean was quoted saying an emphatic "10".
Some folks have expressed concern that the increasing difficulty in surviving and combating the environment would hurt player interaction. To which I say.. Sure, it will hurt player interaction if by player interaction you mean folks wandering up and down the coast, wearing pink dresses and chasing each other with fire extinguishers.
However I firmly believe it will -drive- and foster a different type of player interaction.
Interaction between players making their way across Chernarus, scavenging to survive. Players who enter a village and have to make a hard decision - do I use what little ammunition I have to kill and steal from the survivors already in this town? Do I instead avoid the risk of death from attacking another player, only to potentially risk death by starvation or infected as I make my way around the town? Is the cost of expending my resources in either choice too great?
Make no mistake, DayZ is and always has been intended to be an unforgiving, brutal fight for survival in a harsh post apocalyptic landscape. Obviously we still have a long ways to go to get to that point, but as we move forward more and more systems will be introduced that support that experience. Balancing and adjustment will have to occur, as the intended experience is not to ensure starvation on the coast, but instead foster the ability to spawn, gather the basic supplies required to move inland, and thus begin the real DayZ experience - your story, your struggle for survival.
And the beauty of it all? If this is not the experience you're exactly looking to have with DayZ - then another core pillar of DayZ's design will bring you exactly what you seek. Our full support for modding via the Steam Workshop.
It is going to be an exciting year survivors, and I look forward to experiencing it with all of you.
- Brian Hicks / Lead Producer