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Zafehouse 2, drugs and you

Medical supplies in Zafehouse 2 have managed to avoid coverage on the blog.

That is until now.

In the original game, medicines had one function – to heal injured survivors. For the sequel I decided to expand on medicine’s role, and it was posts from curious players that helped inspire its more involved place. Said posts would ask “What do antibiotics do, and how can I use them?”, referring to the text that appears sometimes after you raid a building. Sadly, this text was simply flavour, and those “antibiotics” just went to your medicine pool.

Things have changed in Z2.

Players have a number of priorities in the game: gathering supplies, finding survivors and keeping the zombie count at manageable levels. The biggest two however are the physical and mental health of your survivors. You’ll have to monitor stamina, tenacity and injuries and make sure no one falls unconscious, goes insane or dies. Currently, if a survivor drops below 50% of their maximum in any health-related statistic, they run the risk of copping a serious disability, which will trouble them for the rest of the game (or their life, whichever ends first).

Painkillers, sedatives and stimulants can ward off and, when the inevitable happens, minimise the effects of permanent disabilities. Bandages are technically a “drug” as far as the game is concerned, but their functionality is limited to healing a single level of wounds. Drugs, on the other hand, have multiple uses… and drawbacks.

For instance, if a survivor becomes crippled, their movement speed outside is reduced, and their aim is affected. You can temporarily nullify these cons by taking painkillers. Painkillers can also be taken by a non-crippled survivor, where they provide a temporary health boost that reduces the survivor to a near-death state once they wear off. Crippled survivors cannot benefit from this special bonus – the painkillers already have their job cut out for them.

Drugs sound great, right? Not so much if used in excess. All drugs have a cooldown, so you can’t just stuff your face with stimulants when its raining zombies during the longest night of your survivor’s life. All drugs impose temporary cons when their cooldown is up. Finally, the game keeps track of how often you take each drugs and, if you tempt fate long enough, you’ll develop an addiction or worse, suffer an overdose.

I’m talking about drugs in Z2 right now because that’s what I’m working on in the game. Next, I plan to flesh out some of the survivor events, which will involve work on the newly coded “Situation Tracker”. It’s kind of like L4D AI Director, though I wouldn’t start comparing the two games. :P

~ by Logan on November 18, 2009.

4 Responses to “Zafehouse 2, drugs and you”

  1. What about combination of drugs and alcohol? And are there any kind of sideffect so to say tradeoffs for taking drugs?

  2. @kulik242: I guess taking drugs and alcohol is a recipe for disaster (the good kind, gameplay-wise)! There’s nothing in the game right now for this specific scenario, but it’s very easy to add it in.

    As for the side-effects/trade-offs. Drugs can only be taken when their cooldown has expired, and the cooldown is accompanied by drawbacks – as mentioned in the post. I’ll use the same example I used there – painkillers will leave you with almost no health when their effects end.

    As the development progresses, I’m sure more complex interactions will present themselves.

  3. Ok, just don’t overdo it with the drugs and alcohol thing. They are a great addition, but it would look weird if the only option to survive would be drugged up and stiff drunk. :)

    Don’t forget that in sandbox mode would be great to modify somehow the effects of drugs and alcohol- make them more or less important.

  4. @kulik242: Ha ha! You make a good point. I doubt you’ll have enough medical supplies to accomplish that. They’re definitely emergency-use only; getting hit even once will be a big deal. Survivors will also occasionally get a second wind depending on how well they’re doing. Adrenaline and endorphins and all that.

    Which I guess are technically drugs as well, but the good kind! :P

    The first iteration of the custom scenario mode will probably just feature settings like number of buildings, building types, zombie difficulty, etc – in essence, the high-level stuff. Once the game is out, I’ll definitely expand on what you can tweak, likely in the form of an Advanced tab. Replayability has always been high on my list of priorities.

    @murray: I would love nothing more than to give you solid dates for the release of demos, betas, etc, but the amount of time I can spend on ZH2 is completely at the mercy of my day job. Some days I can get a few hours in a day, or spend an entire weekend adding whole sections (like combat a couple of months back). Other times the game can go a week without attention. I have to maintain a careful balance of game developing at home and game developing at work, otherwise I can see myself burning out.

    But I hear you, don’t worry about that. :)