Ivan is back!
The last two weeks have gone extremely fast for us. As many will have noticed, we didn’t do a devblog last week. While the aim is produce an update every week (scheduled for Friday), the reality is that development will always have priority over our devblogs - and there has been a huge amount of real work to do on the project!
To celebrate Ivan returning to assist with the tean; Ivan, Matt, and myself held a design meeting in a rather unusual setting - we went from a hike around a lake area in the Czech Republic. We got some excellent idea’s - and we’re all thrilled with the great concepts Ivan has been bringing. We look forward to including Ivan on our next video blog.
Project Team Expansion
One of the biggest changes in the last week has been the expansion of the project, both in scale and scope as well as with personnel. We’ve been getting more and more people involved, both locally and externally. Many of these people are from within the community. We hope that these people will be able to assist us in really pushing the game to its limits.
Our internal closed testing has been continuing, and then pausing, as we identify and fix crashes and other issues. The vast amount of changes we have made require meticulous testing. We’re hoping to begin our first large-scale capacity testing next week (assuming we have a stable enough build). This will involve us working the server over with around 50 people initially, then working up to 150 and beyond to obtain metrics as to what limitations we will have.
Our lead programmer has been continuing the revision of the entire engine multiplayer to operate under the server-client MMO model. The results have been outstanding, and it is going to radically change the product. As these changes are made we are filter them onto the approach taken at other levels, ensuring everything is moved from being done at a client level to being done at a server level.
We have been experimenting with some novel approaches such as not having loot spawned at the server level, but having it spawned at the database level - therefore negating the ease with which loot tables could be produced and allowing us to conduct a form of economic regulation to item spawns dynamically. I think the end result, however, will be a mixture of the two approaches due to performance requirements.
This is the absolute core of our current design efforts. As such, you can see some new screen shots of the new ethnic heads available for female characters. We want to allow characters to be fully customized and reflect the players story as they are going along. This has included some fantastic ideas inspired by the community. Until initial release, the vast majority of our efforts will be with expanding options for developing and customizing your character.
Based on feedback and development, changes continue with this area. It’s starting to operate really well. Our programmer here, Jirka, will eventually move onto the crafting system. He has been wanting to move onto this for some time, as it is a personal area of interest for him.
As part of the inventory system, we have started detailed work on the attachment system. Like the customization of characters, we want to allow maximum ability for the customization and development of a players weapons. As part of this, all weapons being introduced into DayZ are being redeveloped from scratch at extremely high detail. The work being produced so far is outstanding! This means that, on release, there will be less weapons in the standalone - but it allows us the ability to continue each week to release content updates with new weapons and items.
Massive areas are changing here. Ivan Buchta having returned from his time in the Greek Prison has been a huge asset to the team, working with our world designer SenChi (designer of the Ironfront worlds) to redevelop Chernarus. I have included some low-detail screenshots taken by SenChi showing some of his developments.
New clothing, items, weapons, buildings, “special areas” are all the foci of art development. We are greatly expanding our team of artists, as we have hundreds of new items we want to include in the world.
This week’s blog is pretty light on detail and excitement, but the pace is such that pausing to write about it is taking too much time! Overall, each week is proving to be more exciting for us than the last.
Part of a regular feature we will be doing is to take peoples questions on twitter (hastag: #AskDayZ) and facebook - Matt will select a few and we will answer them.
Will we be able to host private (hive) servers? (Christian Haschek)
Private servers will be supported. The issue of private hives (central servers) is still an open question. Initially the answer is definitely no, as we need to concentrate the database centrally so we can continue development and change it regularly. There is a wider issue of regulating both the economy of DayZ, in terms of controlling item spawn, and ensuring a balanced approach. I think it comes down to a question of timing, much like with the mod.
There be any new features in the first version of the standalone or it will be the classic DayZ (Martin Rangelovwill)
The experience will be entirely new. There is virtually nothing that has been directly ported from the mod, everything has been redone. This wasn’t our original intention (hence the December deadline) - but it has evolved this way. We’re all glad it has!
End Game content - Other than the mad max mods to cars, what other endgame solution is there other than everyone becoming bandits, the forums have made mentions and suggestions of random events like raiding a c130 crash site or setting ambush to NPC convoys, What do the dev’s have in store for us? (Rhys Fiander )
Endgame is an open question, and is something we will look at later once we have got the basics where we want them (player customization, controls, animations, zombies, loot spawn, attachments, disease, hacking, etc…). I’m personally not a fan of NPC’s but we have been keeping this available as an option for development. I kind of think using NPC’s is cheating in this context. I am sure we can come up with a more creative way of doing these kinds of events, working directly with the community.
Dean: will you being adding other food and drink types (Ross J MacGregor)
The list of planned items is huge. A reasonably small functional set will be available initially, then new items and weapons during weekly updates.
Are you working on other ways to indicate hunger, thirst, temperature to achieve a more minimalistic HUD or getting rid of it completely and instead use sounds and such ? (Jesper von Hundhufvud)
The current situation is “no HUD” and we hope to keep it this way, demonstrating through the use of sounds and animations. We do need to add options for those with hearing impairments and we will look at those options too.
Did Dean get a date in the end or was it a romantic evening for one? WHY DID HE NOT TELL HER HOW MANY LAMBORGHINIS HE WILL HAVE?! (Regan Bamfield)
It was a very romantic evening for me cleaning my sneaker collection (I’m a total sneakerhead), so no - I did not get my date in the end! No matter how many Lamborghini’s I promised!
What will be the pricing on standalone? (Dylan Panda Belisle)
It is still to-be-confirmed. However, to put it in perspective, I want a higher price than nearly everyone else in the company. So we’re not talking an expensive product. Released now, I am confident people are getting more than required value from the product.
Will you continue pursuing/developing the humanity system? have you made/felt the need to make any changes? (Daniel Yacoubian)
I think this will continue to be developed throughout the life of the product, it will be a very subtle art to get it right.
Will the number of zombies be increased, or should we expect a similar amount? (Kyle O’Dowd)
Yes, expect the numbers to increase as they are controlled directly on the server independent of player locations.
@Lirik - Will there be character slots or will it be limited to one survivor?
Initially, just one live character for each player account. We store a huge amount of data for each character, so we need to limit it.
@Biddaman - From what we know about next gen consoles so far, would Dayz be possible to run on those machines?
Personally, yes I believe it would be technically possible. Some of the consoles will be easier than others. There are some issues with requirements for publishers which are really annoying, and I have been frustrated in the past with some of the rules required that force some weird design changes in games (I don’t like tutorials!).
@zSc0pe - Will there be changes with the chat? I would like to be able to type or talk to friends in game without the whole server knowing
We’ve started development of a basic radio system. If you’ve played Space Station 13, you’ll recognize this system. More to follow on that. And love the songs by the way!
@jerry_hopper - Will the squadXML be overhauled,2 achieve more interaction ‘outside’ the gameserver? or will there be some API which taps in dayz?
API is something we, longterm, want to look at for nearly everything - considering the outstanding creativity within the community. In particular I think it is best to allow the community to develop its own player profile statistic sites. But this is something that will come much later in the year.
@Ray23estRay - If there will be any further map releases for DayZ in the future,will they be released as DLC content for money?
We are starting our planning process for this, but we don’t have any idea how we would monetize it. There are issues with the DLC model we would want to avoid. We’re hoping we will be so successful in sales, that we can just release as a free content update.
@TheBeehawk - What kind of vehicle customisation [sic] is planned?
I have only basic ideas on this currently, essentially functioning similar to the weapon attachment system we have designed. If your car has a missing or damaged door, take the door off another car. But of course, if they are different colors, you’ll see that. Each part also has various damage states, so we end up with GTA-esque damage visuals.
@Chernoeb Will there be different servers with different weapons. Example: One server has DMR’s while another server has no DMR’s
Not initially. Either loot will be entirely controlled centrally by the central server, or it will spawn based on loot probability tables, or (most likely) a combination of the two.
@poopthought - Do you have any malls, hotels, prisons or bigger hospitals planned for the standalone?
@EvanLutes1999 - Will there be the old weapons from the mod, new weapons, or a mix of both?
New weapons, based on the old weapons.
IAsh - How many clothing varieties should we expect?
Once released, expect new content every week. We are planning hundreds and hundreds of clothing varieties.