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Zafehouse 2 feature sneak peek #2: A collection of comments

For this week’s peek, I’ve rounded up a couple of posts I’ve made recently that contain info on Zafehouse 2. If you missed them, then I’m sure you’ll find this interesting. If not, feel free to read them again!

Movement is pretty streamlined at the moment. The amount of actions a survivor can perform is determined by their location. Clearing an unexplored or retaken room and entering/leaving a building takes one turn. Moving from any one room to another room within a building takes one turn, so long as the path between the rooms is clear. Barricading all the doors in a room takes one turn, while combat can occur over multiple turns. Each turn is around 15 minutes, and the entire game occurs over the course of 24 hours. So you’re looking at about 96 turns in total, but there are ways to reduce/increase this number through perks and events. Basically, I’m not sure how vehicles would fit into this. It might be the basis of a scenario though.

Zombies won’t be the only enemies you encounter, but combat currently is purely with the undead. Events will come up that ask you to deal with other survivors, either by incorporating them into your group, giving them supplies or, if you’re feeling evil, killing them. It’s possible that an expansion might include combat with humans (or even animals) but the AI to do this would be a task in itself. As you can imagine, zombie AI isn’t massively complex. :)

Buildings will only have multiple rooms, yes. I was contemplating multiple floors, and it’s still a possibility, but it’s very low on the list (mainly for technical reasons). There’s already quite a bit of tactical decision-making and I’m happy with the balance right now. As for survivors in rooms – that’s the core gameplay! Making choices about which building (or buildings) to hold up in for the final assault, which doors to barricade, how many supplies/weapons to leave in caches (as your survivors have limited carrying capacities) is what it’s all about. :) Also, the shotgun is no longer the be-all, end-all of weapons. Some are better at taking out zombies when they close in on a building, some are better at picking them off through barricades, and others are superior when they’re right on top of you. That’s why survivors can carry two weapons. For example, a bolt-action rifle is great for the first attack, but you’ll be dumping it quickly once they’re at the door for an SMG, and then when they bust through, you’ll have the shotgun or machete ready.

There’s a lot of backend stuff that’s been done. Most of the work now is content-related (writing event text and actions) and getting the combat system working (it’s probably the most complex part of the game). I could release something, but it’d be like playing Solitaire with the numbers missing on the cards. :P I plan to release a demo at some stage, but it won’t be for a few months. Sorry!

Right now, the maximum is 6 survivors at one time. I haven’t decided on a final number, but it will be in the realms of 4-8, 10 at the very most. The idea is that you start with one, and collect more as you go. One of the biggest complaints I received about Zafehouse was that players didn’t feel very attached to their survivors, as it was not unusual to have 20+ at one time. I wanted to emphasise that losing one of these guys is a big deal, on both a gameplay and emotional level.

If they do die, you will have the opportunity to collect more. Obviously, like the original Zafehouse, you’ll want to keep your veterans alive as they’ll have the most perks and be worth the more points. The game will know when you have less than the maximum number of survivors, and will provide events to fatten your numbers.

There are times when you get events that provide new survivors, but will be at the maximum. It’ll be up to you to help them out or… well, let’s just you have the option to eliminate the possibility of them coming back as a zombie. This all feeds into your survivors’ personalities, and will influence how they react under different circumstances.

Z2 has always had survivors with limited capacities for things such as ammo, meds, etc. But you can store supplies in rooms now and even leave little caches if you like. Great for when you need to retreat and restock.

Currently, I’m looking to have survivors carrying two weapons/items max, with each room having a capacity of eight. As for ammo, meds, etc, I don’t see any logical reason to limit the amount you can keep in a room… not that you’ll have a large supply anyway!

There are two games modes right now – Scenario and Custom. Scenarios will have online scoreboards and fixed parameters, while Custom will let you set everything from zombie counts and strength through to the climate! (I saw Dead Snow a few weeks ago and it got me thinking: there’s no reason not to replicate the “cabin in the snow” scenario in Z2).

I do like the idea of controlling zombies… but I think it can wait for an expansion.

That’s all for this week. I’ll have juicer juice next time.

~ by Logan on August 27, 2009.

4 Responses to “Zafehouse 2 feature sneak peek #2: A collection of comments”

  1. Im looking forward to this!!!
    My thoughts:
    Moving from any one room to another room within a building takes one turn? 15 minutes? If this is included the time needed for searching for supplies then sure, but what if the room was searched already, there is no need to search again and loose time. 15 minutes for movement through? Its a game, but still… 15 minutes for barricading is ok, but if there are levels of barricade i would make baricading for higher levels cost more. Fighting zombies could depend from theirs numbers.
    Don’t hesitate to make this frustrating difficult, its indie after all.
    And please, could you make the 24 hours time limit optionable?
    Keeping my fingers crossed.

  2. I’m still tweaking with what exactly constitutes a turn. Keep in mind the time period is somewhat arbitrary – I could just change it to Turn 1, Turn 2, Turn 3, etc, but having time pass in minutes and hours feels more realistic and intense.

    I should mention that you can move to an adjacent room, or cross an entire building, in a single turn, so it balances out that way.

    As for the time limit – Scenarios will have set time limits in order to provide the correct pacing and a way to measure performance (for the high score tables). Custom games will allow you to set whatever time limit you want… including no limit.

  3. One more thing, im not a big fan of leveling (Starting as a pussy and after 24hrs be like Rambo) so i wondered if it could be made that you could edit a survivor at the start of the game or when rescued during the game. (In custom game of course.) It would ad a more realistic feel to the game.

  4. To be fair, GSL/GSH survivors in ZH weren’t exactly Rambos. They died almost as easily as a zero hour dude. I think they had a 10% less chance to be bitten and could take an extra bite.

    I get what you’re saying though – customisable survivors. I like the idea for a custom game… I’ll have to think about the best way of implementing it.