Today I wanted to touch on the subject of vehicles a bit to give everyone a little idea where they came from and where they are going.
Vehicles had always been on our mind for the initial design of the game, evident in both the extensive road networks and size of the map. Beyond food, water and health management, transportation was also intended to play a part in the survival experience. Unfortunately our plans to implement vehicles were squashed by the game’s rapid popularity and the need to divert our limited resources toward customer support, anti-hacks and bug fixes.
Some time later, when the opportunity presented itself, we began developing the vehicles which resulted in the three vehicles you see today.
The Buggy is fastest moving vehicle with the tightest controls but at the cost of limited armor.
The Zombie Killer, while slower than the Buggy, is a heavier killing machine.
The Stryker is the slowest of the vehicles but the most heavily armored for safe transportation.
While we knew it would happen, especially with the Zombie Killer, we have not anticipated vehicles being as deadly and detrimental to gameplay as they currently are. We heard the complaints and even experienced the issue for ourselves, so we set out to find a solution.
After some reflection we concluded the following:
We need to give users on foot more tools to combat vehicles.
We need to create a smaller risk / reward gap for vehicles drivers.
The first solution we explored was simply reducing the health of the vehicles so they could be more easily destroyed by users on foot. We learned quickly that this was not going to be enough because terrain was destroying vehicles far too easily. This was making it very difficult for anyone to use the vehicles for transportation.
Later we explored the idea of vehicles doing less damage to users on impact, but this had to be thrown out because we did not have the proper animations and features in place to support it. The result was characters getting knocked around in the standing position and even getting pushing inside walls and rocks.
Finally we found what we think will be a far better heading for fixing the vehicle problems. I will go into more detail as to what that is and how we came to the conclusion in a future post. We look forward to sharing these changes with you so we can get more real-time feedback and we can be proud of our vehicles.