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Zafehouse 2’s combat explained

I’m still doing a bit of tweaking, but I’m looking to post a screenshot of combat, and one from early-game with a few searched buildings with zombies and survivors this week.

But yes, combat. I talked a little before about the mechanics, but not at length. I won’t be breaking it down entirely here, but I do want to share some more details.

Combat can occur in two places – outside and inside. Inside is preferable to outside, as you can decide the path the zombies must take to get to you. You can retreat when positions become indefensible (barricading a door as it is being beaten down will be restricted, even impossible), and juggle weapons appropriate for the situation.

Outside however… it gets harder.

The whites of their eyes: The stages of combat
Combat in Zafehouse 2 is broken up into three states – far, close and melee.

Far: Outside during late morning, noon and early afternoon, the first round or two of an attack against a building entrance
Close: Outside during early morning, late afternoon/evening, all rounds between far and melee
Melee: Outside during the night, all rounds where zombies occupy the same room as a survivor

When survivors encounter zombies outside, there’s a chance they’ll encounter them in one of these states straight off the bat. The odds of a far or close encounter are higher during the day, while melee is more likely during the night.

Each weapon in the game has profiles for these three states (except for melee-only weapons, which just have one). Each profile has the following stats, though this isn’t a complete list:

Chance to hit: The base chance a weapon has to hit a target at this range.
Chance to crit: The base chance for a critical hit, once the weapon has successfully hit. Critical strikes result in either a headshot (instant kill) or crippling. Crippling’s greatest benefit is reducing a zombie’s strength, and therefore their ability to beat down barricades. Cripple a zombie twice, and it’ll stay at the last state it was in.
Damage: The raw damage this weapon does on a hit.
Spread: How many targets, other than the main target, this weapon can hit.
Spread – Chance to hit: The chance each spread attack has to hit. Spread damage never crits (though a perk might make it possible).
Spread – Damage: The raw damage a successful spread hit deals.
Stopping power: The stopping power at this range. Currently just true or false. If true, then a successful hit on the main target will prevent it from taking any actions on its next turn.

With these stats in mind, let’s take a look at an example weapon – the shotgun:

Far: At far range, the shotgun isn’t crash hot. Its chance to hit is low, and its chance to crit is even lower. Damage is also paltry. However, the spread is higher, and the spread chance to hit is also not horrible. Spread damage? It’s pretty sucky. So yes, you can take the scattergun approach to zombie defense and get a bunch of crappy shots on a lot of targets, which might soften them up for a bunch of melee survivors. Stopping power is zilch.

Close: Now we’re talking. Chance to hit is much improved, as is chance to crit. Damage is respectable, but the spread has gone down. The chance for the spread to hit is higher though, as is the damage. This means blasting at a pack of zombies through some barricades is effective. The shotgun also has stopping power at close range, which means if we can hit our target every round, that’s one less zombie bashing down the doors.

Melee: This is where the shotgun excels. Chance to hit is high, as is chance to crit. Damage is high, but spread is lower than the previous states, but the spread chance to hit and damage are higher. Stopping power also comes into play, and a survivor with a shotgun stands a better chance of emerging from close-quarters zombie combat unscathed than someone with a lesser weapon.

And that’s combat in a nutshell. If you have any questions, suggestions or comments, let me know.

~ by Logan on August 31, 2009.

7 Responses to “Zafehouse 2’s combat explained”

  1. Its great for this kind of game, not too complicated and not too abstract like first zafehouse.
    I have a few questions though, can you split squad to cover more rooms? And can a survivor have two weapons or at least use his gun as blunt weapon to save ammo?
    And i have a small sugestion, its a long time since i read zombie deffense guide, but i think that fighting zombies in open space is better than fight them inside of a building since they cut your way more easily. Maybe you can add action “retreat” that would bring the whole survivor group one step back (like increase the distance from “melee” to “close”) but with penalty to accuracy in that round. This retreat action could fail and it would be almost unusable inside of buildings(Im thinking about 40%chance to fail outside and 75% chance to fail inside. Maybe lowered by perk?) Even if it would fails it would add penalty to accuracy since the survivors would try to move and loose focus on situation. It would make a nice tactical option mostly used when ammo is abundant (If used too frequent you would find yourself without ammo quickly.) Im not sure but it may be even used to outrun zombies (retreat when distance is “far”) but your squad would be moved on random position on the map.
    A second sugestion i have is to be able to chose (or make the game to do it automaticaly) that survivors with melee weapons like axes and bats to be attacked by zombies firs (armed survivors standing behind them to buy a time to fire another salvo)
    My third sugestion is to be able to repair barricades in combat, survivors repairing barricades couldn’t shoot and the chance to repair them would be rather small (perk?) and dependant from the number of survivors repairing. (…dont like this idea too much, but its quite reasonable.)
    Keeping my fingers crossed!

  2. There aren’t really squads in ZH2. You just have a small pool of six survivors at most, and each is controlled individually. So you can split them up however you like. I don’t think there’s a great deal of benefit in adding a grouping option for such a tiny amount of people.

    A survivor can carry two items, which can both be weapons. I’ll probably have a basic order system so you can decide what weapons a survivor uses at different ranges – say Weapon A for Far and Close, and Weapon B for Melee, or Weapon A for Far and Weapon B for Close and Melee. Something like that.

    I don’t think I’ve done a great job of describing actions and the passage of time in ZH2, as I believe a clear explaination would answer most of your questions. Firstly, combat isn’t a do-or-die event like it was in ZH. If you happen to have guys in a combat situation, hitting the “next turn” button will execute a single round of that combat, along with any other events that might happen that turn, such as searching or barricading a room. So, you can do any retreating, rearming, re-barricading or whatever between those turns.

    As an aside, the combat stuff you just described is similar to how Deadshed’s combat worked. I’ve borrowed a bit from that with far/close/melee system.

    I should mention that being outside is a binary thing. Once a survivor is outside, they don’t move around the map like you would in an RTS. They get lumped together with any other survivors that happen to be outside. When combat occurs outside, a UI element will let you know how many are left and their proximity to the outside survivors. If another outside combat event is triggered while there are already zombies present outside, they’ll just be added to the count on this UI element. Fighting outside will be dangerous, maybe flying in the face a little of the “open spaces” logic, mainly because I want to encourage people to barricade and negotiate buildings (which is the core of the game), and because stacking melee survivors outside was a (very) dominant strategy in ZH. I don’t want this to be the case in ZH2.

    As for ranged survivors behind melee survivors, that should be handled automatically. I’ll use the basic rule that if at least one survivor has a melee weapon and is present in a fight with ranged survivors, he’ll attack at Melee range (and be the focus of zombie attacks) while the others will fight at Close. I’m sure the complexity of this rule will evolve as development progresses, and will be customisable to some degree.

  3. Thanks for answers.
    I woul like to see health, infection and personalities systems explained in the future.
    For health and infection i would like to see multiple state levels slowly detoriate if kept untreated with several penalties to all actions and limitations.
    Im also curious about personalities you mentioned in previous article. Like not to be abble to share supplies between survivors if they hate each other or be unable to leave behind person you love or shoot them if they get infected?
    And what about morale system? Nervous breakdowns, berserk ammok, panic? …may be interesting.
    For custom game lasting longer than 24 hrs a fatigue (sleep deprivation effect) system would be great and ability to sleep to reduce this effect.
    Anyway, you rock, this kind of survival focused zombie game is a dream game of many peoples!

  4. I don’t really get how the turns work (I know this is a bit off topic) but what if you only have 15 mins to play (you have to go to school or work etc) and can you save the game if you are playing over a 24 hour period? because im not leaving my pc on all night.

  5. 2 murray
    Its not a realtime game, one turn represents 15 minutes for the survivors in game, but you can finish a turn with a simple mouse click. You press “done” button four times in a row and this will represent 1 hour in game. Im guessing that one game (24hrs-92turns) could last somewhere under two hours depending on how complex the game will be. I don’t know if there will be a save function.
    More info to realtime/turn-based gameplay: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time-keeping_systems_in_games

  6. ah, im a bit stupid, i thaught he ment in real time not in game time. thanks

  7. I don’t have plans for a save system… but it all depends on the average length of a game. I’d say 1-2 hours is about right.

    I’m not a big fan of removing control from the player, so it’s unlikely someone who’s a complete bastard is going to start randomly killing other survivors, or run away because they’re scared. There are survivor “events” that are affected by things like personality, that you can leave active or remove. They’ll often be double-edged swords – give a bonus with a penalty. The flavour of these events will be determined by just how kind or ruthless the survivor is.

    I like to leave stuff like morale in the hands of the player… if they’re scared of losing a survivor, they’ll make them run themselves without me doing anything. :)

    And sorry about the turn confusion. Each turn is about 8-12 minutes in game time, and maybe a couple of seconds to a few minutes in real time, depending on the actions you need to take. Late game a turn could potentially take 15 minutes, if you’re the super-contemplative sort.