Developer Presentation and Q&A (Saturday)
TLDR: You can find a summary of the main points here thanks to Darthnord otherwise the full transcript is below.
So we have a lot to cover as we want to pack as much in as we can, the Q&A which is sort of the bulk of this is really important to us. We are going to be showing a lot of new stuff here and we want to see what kind of questions people have and get some feedback and things like that. So I guess without further ado I'll log in to the demo and talk you through it.
This is the standalone at the moment, it's the current development build so there is plenty of stuff that's broken with it. One thing we have been doing for those familiar with ArmA III will know the team on ArmA 3 did a lot of work with the controls and what we did is we borrowed a couple of the developers from ArmA III and assigned them to our project and asked them what would you do if you could do anything with the game? So we have been looking at things like the tactical pace and things like that, you'll notice that the weapon is currently pointed away, so one idea we are playing with but we aren't set on yet is you have to actually hold down a key to aim. So we are currently developing two systems, one system is exactly like how ArmA III operates with some different tweaks and improvements and the other is this system which forces you to hold down the key. The reason this is currently our favourite system is we believe it will help prevent the kill in sight mentality. We have also removed things like negative mouse acceleration and that kind of stuff. So we are really committed to improving the controls and there has been a lot of work done on that now.
The next thing I wanted to show was the work we have done with the inventory system, this is one of the areas we spent the most time on. I have to add a strong caveat now which is we haven't had an art pass done on this yet so this is what art would look like in a game if you let programmers do all the art. I'll try and talk you through what you are seeing.
The beautiful aqua blue box on the left, that is what's on the ground so if I go to the back of the car here you can see it working. *Everyone applauds* Hmm, maybe we don't need art Matt So the guy in charge of this is a huge fan of RPG's, he has been doing a massive amount of work on this, you probably can't see it here because of the contrast but when you click on that little red box it turns green and expands below it and you can see any items inside, so if I put items in this shirt I can then open and close the shirt container. The green squares next to the avatar are only temporary, they will disappear. We actually want to have it so that you drag and drop off your characters avatar but we haven't currently got that working so we have these green boxes. You'll also see when I consume a drink I leave behind a trash item. You'll notice when I drag an item on to another item the box turns orange which shows you can interact with them, we're going to go with an actual 3D model to show this but it's all just like work in progress at the moment but it brings up a context menu and I can craft it, if anyone has played SS13 we are going with that kind of level of crafting. The yellow boxes at the bottom of the inventory is the quick action bar, so I can put my weapon away and because it's equipped in the first hot bar slot, I just push the 1 key and it brings it back. We wanted to put a lot more customisation so you can put what you want on which slots and then select them using the 1, 2, 5 etc. The inventory system has been heavily inspired from XCom so the idea is if you have a certain weapon you might not be able to fit it in your hoodie because there isn't enough hoodie slots etc.
A lot of the interior work we have done is around the idea of going through the buildings and scavenging, there are a lot of new areas that we want players to be able to go through and explore. You'll notice the cans have Russian names for those familiar with the can incident with the mod also
So I want to talk about what some of our key points are now with the client-server architecture. This is the delay, this is why we haven't been able to let you play the game. Those that played the mod will know that the hacking and exploiting was a significant problem for us so in order to release the alpha we need to finish the architecture first which means everything that's done on your client is just keystrokes and then that's sent to the server and the server is the arbitrator of what you do. That work is being done by our lead programmer, he has been focusing on that and what we are going to do is lock down for the next two months while I am at Everest and they are just going to focus on that and then in June we are going to do a review of where we are at and see if we can release the alpha. That's the only thing we are waiting for, the crafting system and everything else is more or less working so that's really the only reason for the delay and we feel there really is no point releasing DayZ until we do that, that's why we missed the December deadline because we realised we couldn't have just taken ArmA II or ArmA III and make it work with DayZ, we actually had to go back and completely remove components of the game and redo it from scratch.
Crafting and radios
That brings us to crafting and radios which we have been kind of working on in secret, well I may have mentioned it a few times. If anyone is familiar with the ACRE mod from ArmA, what we have done is implemented a simplified version of that in DayZ and if you have played SS13 we also took inspiration from that. In SS13 you can turn off the speaker and the microphone, so what we have done in DayZ is we have made these radios so you can turn off the speaker and place it on the ground and it will record any direct chat that anyone uses nearby but they can't hear you because the speaker is off, whether it be text or voice and play it through the radio. So you can have one radio on a certain frequency and then use another radio to listen to anything happening in that area. I can just imagine people hiding radios in cars or bugging certain areas where you store loot, as well with the crafting system you can craft a headset on to the radio so the speaker won't create noise when it's being used. This is the kind of stuff we are working on while we wait for the architecture to be done.
We went out for dinner with a few streamers last night and ran through the system. It's a little bit hard to explain the system without whiteboards and all that kind of stuff so just deal with me. In the DayZ mod the health system is pretty basic, you have blood and if you run out of blood you die and we really wanted to go a little bit more in-depth and I know people are concerned about accessibility but we feel any complexity added to the game doesn't mean the game needs to become more difficult to play so long as that complexity is intuitive, so we have tried to base a lot of the stuff on common sense. We have health which is your overall life and we have blood which is more of a short term indicator, so if you get shot you will take brute force damage to your health, you will lose quite a lot of blood and you might be bleeding so your blood will keep dropping. Those are the two main indicators of your health. You also have shock, an example being if you get hit in the head with a baseball bat and don't have something like a motorbike helmet on you will take quite a high shock value and if that shock value exceeds your current blood you will go unconscious. The real experiment we are doing and to be honest there is a lot of stuff we are doing that we aren't sure on yet but we want to try, we're trying to not have any of this on the UI so we want to provide feedback as to how this is working through post-process effects and sound effects and to be honest I don't know how it's going to go, it could be a disaster but we want to try it because we think not having a UI will really add to the immersion. Talking about this last night a lot of people were wondering how does it regenerate so the idea with blood is that if your hunger and thirst is full then your blood will regenerate and if your hunger, thirst and blood are ok then your health will very slowly regenerate and your blood will only regenerate only up to your maximum health. This is kind of confusing and that's another reason why we don't want to put it in the UI, we're hoping that it turns out to be intuitive enough and hopefully when we get the alpha out we can get some feedback from Reddit and the forums and stuff like that.
Food and diet
We didn't like how in the DayZmod you can just eat/drink a million energy drinks and you are totally fine because that is certainly not the case, Matt tried it. So the idea is your diet will have an effect on your character, we want to keep this kind of stuff quite subtle and really just apply some common sense.
The other point was melee, we are putting quite a bit of work into that, we still only have a prototype at the moment and the idea is to be able to punch and things like that, there are going to be a lot less weapons in the initial release, we are really going back to basics with the initial alpha and so your reliant on melee is going to be quite high, with the weapons we are going back to them, giving them new sounds and making them as good as we want them to be. There is also the attachment system, unfortunately I couldn't show you that yet as I had problems getting the latest update but we will show that in the next blog.
The last kind of point I wanted to touch on is the skeleton. We have been using the same skeleton for about eight years so think of skeletons from games that old. The skeleton is basically your rig that you bind to the skin, it defines how the character moves. So we took a risk and devoted some time to developing a brand new skeleton and that risk has paid off and the skeleton that has been made is really pleasing, it's going to allow us to do a lot of things. A lot of games have a separate skeleton position for your first person view and that sounds bad but it's actually really good because it means you can have both the first and third person views relevant and nice. ArmA only has one position so you can only have it look good in first person or third person, with the new skeleton it's going to look good in both, particularly in melee - think of Chivalry, you really need to see where your hands are and where you are punching etc especially since we have removed the crosshair. That new skeleton has really opened a lot of doors for us.
This is probably the thing most people want to hear about, so the alpha isn't out yet and obviously everyone is disappointed but we have to get that architecture done first. Vehicles won't be in the initial release, the reason for that is we want to do the vehicles properly, the standalone goes back to basics and roughly around August-September we will look at doing the vehicles. We want to have it so it doesn't feel like you are driving big blocks of stone around and we want you to be able to customise them similar to how you can customise your player (although we will probably end up with everyone running around in their underwear anyway) Base building. We had a total geek out last night talking about the potential with this, we are big fans of EveOnline, really big fans and we have talked with them a lot at various game conventions and gotten a lot of support and advice. We really think base building is going to be like our version of capital ships in Eve. We have thrown around a lot of ideas and we really don't think above ground base building is going to work because there simply isn't enough space so we are looking at going underground and having it sort of like Skyrim where they are instanced. We have been toying with the idea and prototyping a red faction style but that isn't going to happen until probably the end of the year. We are going to get the alpha out and then have at least 12 months of adding content/updates every week or so.
Streamers, events and content creators.
The last point we wanted to talk about is that we are big fans of tournaments, streaming, content creation etc and we are going to devote some development time to creating a camera mode to support that, you will see there is no mention of your username and things like that to avoid stream sniping already. A big part of DayZ's success was because of streamers, youtubers, events like SurviorGamez etc and the fact that they are able to do that with the mod which is completely broken is pretty amazing, the only reason it's still going is because the community has taken over it's development.
Edited by SmashT, 01 September 2013 - 01:31 PM.