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PAX East - March 2013 - Presenation/Q&A/Interviews/Articles

PAX East PAX Interview Presentation Machinima DayZ Standalone Rocket DayZ Standalone Gameplay

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#1 SmashT


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Posted 22 March 2013 - 04:40 PM

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 ;)

Client-Server architecture
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.

Melee combat
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.

Road map
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.

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 07:54 PM

Developer Presentation and Q&A (Saturday)
Q: You've mentioned the button system to bring up your gun, what else are you implementing to try and reduce the kill on sight mentality you find in the mod?
A: It's a very relevant question because it's a very important one for us. I think everybody who enjoys DayZ can see that nobody wants it to be a kill on sight thing so it's been an important thing for us. Basically we feel we don't want to actually force players not to be able to do it and in fact we were worried that this whole hold a button down mechanic to raise your weapon might be too much so we are actually developing two systems and then we are going to ditch one, we would rather add more things to do and I think the new medical/disease system where you can get cholera, break bones, develop dietary problems and drug dependencies is going to make being a doctor or having access to medical facilities quite important and so we're hoping that encourages more cooperation but it's going to be something we are going to have to watch constantly and that's where we need feedback from you guys in the alpha, is it still going to be kill in sight even with this added complexity or what we are kind of hoping is the clan system becomes really crucial but we don't want to force it.

Q: In regards to base building, how would a solo player secure a base, are you planning on implementing locks for doors or being able to barricade houses etc?
A: What we are looking at doing is again we don't want to force any particular gameplay and what I think is unique about DayZ is sometimes it gives the players challenges that we have made but don't know the answer to, so I don't know how players are going to defend the underground bases and we are going to give players tools so ArmA actually has it's own in-game scripting engine and while we were ripping that out in terms of client-side for normal stuff we were looking at repurposing it for the base building so that you can build your own security systems, similar to how in minecraft you can build your own circuitry and stuff. So we are going to provide some tools but I think it's going to be a real challenge and certainly particularly for a solo player and you might just need to hide it well so it's still in the design to really find that but I guess the short answer is we are going to make the players figure out how to do that with the tools provided.

Q: Are you guys worried that the things you are improving in the traditional sense might rule out some of the crazy stuff you saw in the mod?
A: I think that's a relevant point, we are also really committed to experimenting with it and there are very few opportunities in the gaming industry where you kind of get this freedom to experiment so we are exploiting that and if something doesn't work then we try something else so yes I think that is a real danger and this is why we need to push the alpha out so we can get that feedback.

Q: Are you going to have a trading system?
A: We have decided we are going to implement a trading screen, exactly how it looks and works we are not sure but probably what we are going to have is your stuff will be on one side and you can drag it into this shared pool in the middle so there is still going to be some sort of element where you can screw them over but it's not going to just be items on the ground but yeh we are going to have a screen for it.

Q: I think I have a question that everyone wants to really know, Who is actually shooting in Cherno?
A: Well everyone, at least you will be able to find out now if you hide a radio there.

Q: How do you plan on addressing server hopping, ghosting etc?
A: There was a really good suggestion thread on Reddit and I have that bookmarked. We haven't looked at it yet as we need to deal with the architecture first and that architecture makes it really easy for us to deal with stuff like this. We prototyped a system for the mod but it kind of went skynet on us so we didn't end up implementing it. The central server is able to detect if you are server hopping and it issues you a warning and tells you if you continue you are going to be locked out for five minutes or something like that, another good idea is to keep the players body alive for 10-20 seconds or so, another idea is that when you connect to a server you start off on the ground like you were asleep and a wake up animation so there is a certain amount of time where you are vulnerable. *jokingly* This might actually solve a problem at the moment where the server creates your avatar, tells you that you are in-game and then there is about a ten second delay while your game loads and we were worried what if you get shot during that time. I guess if we implemented that we could call it a feature ;) Just don't tell anyone.

Q: Do you have any plans on adding any sort of whisper communication, similar to direct but for closer range?
A: I think that's actually something that came up on Reddit and forums as well so while our programmer has been writing the radio system he has also identified that one of our options is to have two forms of direct chat, one for normal direct range and another for whisper, we haven't confirmed that yet as it's low priority but it's definitely in the design schedule.

Q: How are bullets and mags going to work and are we going to be able to combine magazines? Having five clips with 1-2 bullets each is really annoying in the mod.
A: One of the advantages of what we have done is we ripped out the whole inventory system, any ArmA modder knows weapons are recorded as strings in ArmA but in DayZ they are objects so we can do all sorts of crazy things, recording fingerprints, recording whether it has cholera or something on it, so we also have magazines as entities so you actually take ammunition and you put it in your magazine so if you only have one magazine and 3000 bullets, after you have emptied that magazine you are going to have to put bullets back in it again and that is going to delay you so finding magazines is going to be quite important and an action we have added to magazines is to strip out bullets so if you have one round you can put it out and put it back in a pile of ammunition.

Q: How do you plan on keeping the game interesting for players once they are geared besides end-game content like base building so they don't just grief fresh spawns.
A: I think this is something we have experienced playing SS13 as well it's like how to balance griefing vs the need for PVP - I think it's something beyond that, it's the threat of PvP. So the only thing we have confirmed so far is to add in more stuff to do and I think the requirement for social interaction is going to be much higher in the standalone, in the mod you only really need someone else for blood transfusions so we have totally revised how blood transfusions work and I am hesitant to talk about skills because I know everyone is just going to focus on skills but we don't want to have skills like gaining xp, we want to have it so if you practice an advance mechanic then you will get better at that advanced mechanic because we want to emphasis social interaction, we want players to become doctors or advance mechanics etc I guess the short answer is you are right, there is a lot we need to do but it's not going to be there in the alpha and I think we need to manage expectations. We hope to get the alpha out soon so we can get feedback on the basic stuff, confirm the controls aren't crap and that the whole thing doesn't crash (too often) and then later we will get to the end-game stuff. We have 12 months from when the alpha starts following the minecraft model of development so I think we will get there

Q: How are you going to prevent loot inflation, specifically high end gear so every player on a server doesn't have a high-end military weapons?
A: We are dealing with this on multiple fronts, on one hand DayZ is going to go right back to it's roots because we have to get that right first so it's not going to be about advanced weaponry, the only advanced weapons that are going to be in are the ones with attachments so the M4 has a lot of attachments, scopes, magazines, stock etc but they are going to be exceptionally hard to find, really even finding a pistol is going to be difficult so I think that deals with it. Someone hammered me on Reddit or somewhere about how I came from modding but am disabling modding but we have to in order to deal with hackers, we want to bring modding in later but for a start we have to say ok we dealt with the hacking problem and then we can look into modding and I like to think we are still trying to stay quite close to the modders and there was a really good thread on Reddit talking about how standalone is taking too long and the mod has gone off in a crazy direction but I think both those things are good as we have been able to explore some of the things we don't want to do, so I don't think that's going to be a problem in the standalone. I think it's going to be way more like the movie, the road rather then the mod.

Q: How are you going to make the game difficult and are you going to have roaming zombie hoards? I feel like the zombies aren't really a factor once you learn the mechanics in the mod
A: I totally get where you are coming from and I think we need to manage peoples expectations, the zombies are not going to be perfect when the alpha comes out, something I am concerned about is the pathing when they are in buildings, the AI sort of makes them go around like they are on rails inside buildings so we want to remove that and make the zombies much more independent but we don't want to delay the alpha any further so like hacking, zombies are a an ongoing thing but we have done a lot of work on the zombie AI/pathfinding and having zombies controlled by the server means we don't need to despawn them, we can have roaming zombies, zombies that follow a scent for miles etc

Q: I'm a fan of the slower animations/inventory of taking weapons out of your backpack, opening bags and things like that compared to CoD where you can just quickswitch to a something instantly, how is the hotbar going to change that?.
A: I think we need a balance, ZeroPunctuation put it well when he said it's like walking around with a washing machine strapped to your back. We need to introduce some delay for example the quick bar we showed, if you take something from your backpack then it takes much longer but if you take something out of your pockets it's quite quick.

Q: My question is about the melee and shock system, can I knock someone out with a baseball bat and then beat the shit out of them?
A: You sure can you sick bastard lol, so we are looking at... I was going to say stealth bonus but that sounds a bit gamey for something like that.

Q: Are you going to have some sort of drag body feature to hide bodies?
A: Yeh I just don't know if it's going to make the initial release as it requires a lot of animation synchronization, it's the kind of thing we will look at a later date but we definitely want to have that kind of interaction.

Q: Have you thought about making animals a threat?
A: We really want to do that but the problem we have is trying to synchronise the animation, we are using our own animation system, we would love to use Euphoria but it's like a million dollars. We want to do that and the hunting element is going to be expanded a lot more later on, we want to have things like dogs and that as a threat but it's a lot more work then it looks to get the animations synchronised so you don't end up with a dog attacking an invisible person so that's a yes but it's going to require more work.

Q: I've been following the news and am really happy about Ivan and Martin being back. I know there has been a lot of talk on the forums about heatmaps, points of interest, where players are going, how are you changing loot spawns and balancing the map to make me want to explore different areas?
A: That's a good point so basically every building and every wreck spawns items and i think it's close to 120,000 item spawns now and because everything can spawn items what we have done is lowered the percentages right down, those big apartment buildings you would have seen in the dev blog, they are all going to have interiors and be really derelict and you can search for stuff, scavenging is going to become crucial. Ivan is kind of our creative consultant and he overseeing the addition of massive new areas on the map, prisons and the entire Northern section of the map is getting an overhaul, there are a lot of useless areas so they are being redone and we are also getting new satellite data done for high fidelity textures so we are really expanding everywhere.

Q: You said you wanted some kind of clan system are you planning on adding a grouping system for spawning on friends?
A: We have thought about it but we really need to think about it a lot more, we are a bit worried about losing those adventures you have trying to find your friends so we need to look at it a bit more.

Q: ArmA III just came out, what are some of the biggest features from ArmA III you are going to be putting in DayZ?
A: We would love to have the underwater stuff, our night looks terrible at the moment because we played with the day time shaders and sort of forgot about the night but we have learned a lot from the ArmA III team in terms of controls and sort of kidnapped some of their members and forced them to work on our controls.

Q: Since you will be focusing more on melee, are we going to see fist fights or bashing someone with your gun?
A: Yeh, so we have got the prototype for fist fights working and we were thinking of having something where if you are close to someone with your rifle you will bash them with it, there are some issues to resolve with it but yep definitely.

Edited by SmashT, 01 September 2013 - 01:31 PM.

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 03:10 AM

Developer Presentation and Q&A (Sunday)

Shows off the female character, inventory, a look at the new map, zombie animations, pathfinding and a Q&A (transcribed below)

Q: Are you planning on having any infected/zombie animals?
A: We're having a problem with animals at the moment so we actually have to go back and reanimate them, so with animals we've done a deer at the moment. The other side of it as well is we want to look at the plausibility of it, so Deans brother is one of NewZealand's leading virologists specialising in influenza and he has written us a huge design document for our virus so we can make it plausible and we need to determine whether animals are even possible to fit within that.

Q: Wait, so you have a virologist on staff? Does that mean you have plans for how the infection came about etc?
A: We have discussed as a long term goal that we would like to have something where you could look into the virus but that's not something we are going to look at until much later in the year.

Q: Are servers going to be able to decide if they want first person only?
A: I saw there was a big discussion on Reddit last night about first person and I'm sure everyone knows that is something that has been quite highly discussed. I generally play in first person but i can see if someone is streaming it they want to play in third person particularly now with the clothing system because you sort of want to show it off, when I played Skyrim I used to always play in third person because i wanted to see all the stuff my character had. I was really tempted early on in the development to disable first person but we are probably going to adopt something similar to the mod where you have the capability to have both first and third person and we are going to allow the server owners to change between it. I think there are some really compelling arguments on both sides and because of that removing it at this time is not a good idea. There is a really compelling argument for it being there and I can see the other side as well so given that it would be a bad idea removing it, so yes.

Q: I've noticed there has been a lot of attention on the south and east coast, are we going to see any additions to the mountains up in the North?
A: What we have actually done is purchased new satellite data for the map so we are redoing all the base texture data so that's going to be of much higher fidelity, if you see the distance visuals they will look a lot better (assuming you have a reasonable computer) Ivan Buchta (one of the devs that was imprisoned in Greece) has proposed that in the Northern area (Chernarus is based on a real area in the Czech Republic) we expand it a little bit more based on those areas in the Czech Republic. We also have an artist who has created assets to be used in the woods like troughs and animal feeding posts etc so that adds more details to an area that is otherwise a bit sparse. There is a lot of wasted space up in that northern area so that is probably one of the bigger areas we plan on expanding but that's probably going to take another month or so before we will see that and we will cover that in a devblog later on.

Q: Do you think you will ever have players spawning with a weapon like how you used to spawn with a pistol in the mod?
A: Well, you are going to be spawning with fists now. That was really a tough time in the mod as it had just started to get really big and although we always had the intention of removing the weapons we thought everyone was going to be really upset due to the fact that DayZ was just exploding so I was kind of surprised how well people took it. We did speak about it at the time and we were hoping it would foster better relations between players so you didn't have players just killing each other on the beach to get more makarov ammo so they could kill more people on the beach. We also talked about doing classes where you could spawn as a police officer or something so was some kind of back story for your character but we just felt that is was too dangerous and one of our prime directives is that we don't want to tell players how they should play the game so letting them come in as classes or something like that sort of forces them in to that play style. I can see what you are saying as it's a real barrier for new players not having a weapon but I sort of hope that fists will alleviate that.

Q: Are you still planning on having fortifications in the standalone?
A: We had a problem with fortifications in the mod because the world filled up with bags of grief and wire and I am glad we had that experiment as it made us realise to have the grand base building we wanted we were going to have to deal with a whole bunch of congestion issues. We do want to do some kind of fortification though so we have been looking at buildings having set points where you can barricade the doors and stuff like that with wood and hammers etc. I think we will do some limited fortification above ground but below ground is really where we are going to end up doing a lot of the stuff simply because of congestion. It's the same thing with player notes, writing notes, creating books and stuff like that it's that if we have them always persistent in the game world then the world eventually fills up with rude images drawn everywhere. I remember NewYork3 already had giant penis made out of sandbags at some point :/

Q: Is there anything that you miss from the early days of the mod?
A: I definitely miss the early days of the mod, I still remember when we did the first big game with CHKilroy and the ShackTack guys and that was the first time we had 50 people in a game, the whole server was full and it was really glitchy as heck like really bad, and I think it's easy to look back and say how awesome that was. We were talking about it with the Multiplay guys who provide a lot of the servers about how bad it was at the start, we would open up fifty new servers and they were instantly full and you would have to wait hours to get on and then you would find yourself bugged out in the middle of the ocean because you put on a ghillie but it was still great. I do miss that vibe at the start but kind of realised we had grown beyond that but I do feel like that vibe is coming back with the standalone but only time will tell if we achieve that.

Q: Are there any lessons you have learned from WarZ?
A: I think not just us but a lot of people have learned that you need to be really careful how you release an alpha on steam. So we are really concerned how it's going to go when we release the alpha, obviously everyone that follows DayZ knows what to expect but the people who don't are just going to see it on steam and think it's going to be awesome then load it up and find something is broken. Managing expectations is something we haven't done well and we are trying to do better. I don't know whether the early access program is going to be able to fix that or whether we decide to sell the initial steam keys through the BIS website and then just having massive warnings everywhere and a bunch of screens you need to click through warning you to make sure the people buying it know what to expect and are prepared for the bugs and glitches, so for me that is the biggest thing I have learned.

Q: Are you planning on adding any climbing aspects to the game for rock faces and things like that?
A: We are quite jealous of a lot of games in terms of what they can do with their animation system and things like that, VBS which is the military variant of the ArmA engine has some really cool stuff for repelling and stuff like that. We looked at some things but because the game world is so big every time we change something or add something new in we have to go back and look at every building and this is the issue we have with loot at the moment where we have to go through and configure where all the items are going to spawn in a building which is very time consuming and as well with the zombie AI when we change the interior of a building we have to go back and define where the zombie AI can go so I think it's just one of those things that we have to get the alpha out and let the community test it and we will get very good feedback as to where we are and have a good picture of what we need to do. The experience is very different when you are playing it outside of closed testing so that's the time when we will look at climbing.

Q: Have the zombie movements and how they run been changed in the standalone?
A: The zombie run and animations is something we have spent a lot of time on and it's only at about 20% of where we want to be with them at the moment and it's something we are just going to have to keep working at, having them server side has definitely helped with that and I think the real issue with zombies is the way they were attacking because they had to stop to play their animation to attack but we need to have the animation work while they are moving. We were talking to the Chivalry guys last night and one thing that is missing is the sense of momentum of when you are getting hit. So we are looking at masking the animations being hit into the player so if you are running along and a zombie hits you, you will sort of feel the impact. It was fine in the mod because it was a mod but for the standalone it needs to be more professional so that's what we are playing with at the moment. In the last devblog we showed that they don't zigzag any more and that alone has made them much more scarier when they are running straight at you.

Q: Optimization wise how is the standalone going to compare to ArmA II?
A: What we are aiming for is similar specifications to ArmA II, we haven't announced anything yet because we can't guarantee anything yet, that's something we are going to have to look at in the alpha. So many people use different setups nowadays so it's really hard to give a base standard but because we have gone to the server-client architecture it means all the ray casting for the zombies, decision making etc has been moved to the server now so if you get a good framerate when you just jump in to the editor then you are going to get a much better framerate in the standalone, if you have a bad framerate in the ArmA editor then you probably aren't going to have that much of a boost, you will still get some increase because we have gutted so much stuff out of the engine that we didn't need to use at all though probably.

Q: How do you plan to deal with players logging out in instanced bases/underground tunnels, caves etc and switching servers, will they just spawn above ground?
A: As we mentioned yesterday, the underground base building system is not something we are going to look at until much later in the year (possibly around December) so if bases are going to be tied to a server or linked is something we are going to have to look at and that's something that will likely be decided by the programmers in terms of what is possible.

Q: Are you going to allow custom modding in standalone?
A: Initially no, we want to try and do everything we can to limit hacking and a side effect of that is restricting modding which is slightly hypocritical since we came from a mod but it's something we have to do, ideally we would like to have some way to implement mods and such so we can have user created content but how we can do that is something we will have to look at much later.

Q: I know zombies are now handled server side, are you ever planning on having some cities filled with thousands of them so you essentially have to team up against that?
A: The main issue we have with that is the more zombies we implement, the more resource intensive it is so there is a limit to how many zombies we can implement. Moving to this new client-server architecture means that more zombies are possible but do we use those resources to vastly increase zombie numbers or do we do something else that may be more beneficial for the user experience.

Q: Since zombies will be spawning server side, will you be adding anything else to to alert players that others are in the area like how zombies indicate that in the mod?
A: Not that we have planned. It's going to be based on what you hear/see in-game. As for the zombies, they are going to much more of a threat because of the new animations and pathfinding. I always just used to run around buildings to lose them but that no longer works as they are able to keep up with you much better.

Q: Have you ever used the Reddit Rescue Force and what do you think of implementing things like that?
A: I haven't used them myself but I think that is an amazing example of the game and having these opportunities in the game is really important to us but it comes down to our prime directive where we don't want to force any particular playstyle, punish banditry etc. So we just want to set up a bunch of tools and have them function correctly and people will adapt and I think the Reddit Rescue Force is an example of an attempt at that. I guess sometimes we have gotten involved in player behaviour but we would rather just build the tools.

Q: Stuff like that is awesome but there is no regret from banditry because it works, you get all this free stuff.
A: I think the potential for loss transfers the sense of value. Dying gives you that real sense of loss of your character and so you value it, there is no real reason why you value it but I think emotion trumps reason and that's why that makes sense. We appreciate that the risk of being shot makes DayZ what it is but particularly with learned mechanics like doctors and mechanics and things like that it gives this real social interaction and we want to explore that but I don't think it's going to work the first time around. Someone messaged me on steam after the panel yesterday and asked what's happened to the humanity system? I always said I think the humanity system is broken but we need to do this alpha first and then go back because everything needs complete rebalancing. We aren't going to get involved with player interactions, we are just going to make the tools as best we can.

Q: Are we going to be able to craft melee weapons, for example a broom + knife to make a spear?
A: I'm glad you asked that so in terms of attachments the first things we are going to deal with will be stuff like the head torch, batteries etc but we are also looking at crafting attachments, I don't think we have a broom on our list but we are looking at doing improvise weapons as well as attachments.

Q: Why did everyone throw their washing machines out into the street when the zombie apocalypse occurred?
A: There are some really funny cartoons about that, I guess when I was making it I wanted Chernarus to feel really derelict and I am heavily inspired by movies like the road and DayZ really hasn't had a lot of time for it's lore but I kind of like that because it focuses the players on their own experiences, so there is no manufactured story only players stories. The simple answer is that was the only model I had.

Q: Is there any plan to have AI NPC's?
A: I'm not big on AI NPC's/companions etc. Early on in the mod I wanted to have end game be something where you could find a vehicle and then go and rescue NPC's but I think that is way too gamey for what we have. Our CEO Marek is really into NPC's so we are building DayZ with the ability to have that built in but I am not really interested in so it might come later but it won't be something that I put in.

Q: I was wondering what you thought of the other maps and versions you see in the mod, lingor etc?
A: I think the community maps are awesome. At the moment we don't know what to do about DLC and stuff like that, if you have paid DLC then it splinters your community as not everyone wants to go and buy the map so how do we extend beyond DayZ? Additional maps cost a lot of money and a lot of time to make especially since the maps are really huge. I think the experimentation the mod has taken with hundreds of vehicles and weapons was good because we figured out what is good and what isn't. You also have other mods for ArmA II like Wasteland that have taken some of those experiences and made a much more refined version out of it so I don't think we are going to be doing stuff like that in the standalone but it's great that the mod explored those things.

Q: Where are the dogs?
A: The dogs are development hell, so I was developing them for ages in the mod and put a lot of work in to them but realised the standalone would never come out if I was also working on the mod so I stopped virtually all work so we handed the code over to the modders and we both thought they were going to get it done but they still don't have it done, it's still in the plans and we have done quite a bit of work so I don't if they are going to make the initial alpha but we want to get them done eventually.

Q: Are there any plans for an inland rivers?
A: We have talked about it a lot. We would love to do it but in order to get water functioning in ArmA it is sort of flat like a plane, below that is water and above that is not, the ponds are sort of a hack, they are an object that functions as water and that kind of doesn't allow us to do rivers as you need to flatten the terrain and stuff like that and it becomes an issue but it's something we are interested in doing and we would love to see it in but it's just so much work. It's not just technical limitations, we want to do fishing and things like that similar to hunting and we are hopeful but there are a lot of technical limitations.

Machinima - Interview

Q: A little over a week ago you released your latest dev video and we saw some stuff on that, can you recap some things you talked about for those who haven't been following? (Zombies, pathing etc)
A: The main effort is really the move to centralising everything, so that's centralising how zombies work as well as the players. That has a huge effect on reducing the problem that hacking presents us and pushes us really into more of an MMO model as far as how the architecture works. With the zombies that means no longer do we have them spawning and de-spawning around which was a real clue as to whether a player was around that area, that really broke with the immersion and we are definitely finding that has given a huge improvement in regards to how the world works.

Q: It seemed the threat of the zombies was a lot more realistic as well, you can't really zig zag around them and they chase you better is that correct?
A: What we found is that a lot of what was difficult about dayz mod was the ridiculous bugs with it, so when you fix those bugs you in a lot of cases lower the difficulty in certain areas. We want the zombies and environment to be a threat so that players are encouraged to group together which is what we kind if think a real situation would present, there are positive benefits for being grouped together. So that's something we really want to see with the new zombie mechanics and really just remove a lot of the frustration. We've also got the new skeleton that all the animations are based off and that is giving us improvements not only with the zombies but with the player controls as well and something we are hoping to show tomorrow is the last couple of weeks (this hasn't been talked about in the dev blog) has been a focus on the players character, player animations, the way the player controls the character and the view they see as well.

Q: Speaking a little on the MMO side, can you talk a about the new hot key bar?
A: That was a real experiment for us, I don't know whether we have quite delivered exactly what we want out of it but we are committed to it and are on the approach for it. A lot of peoples problem with the inventory system we used from ArmA in the mod was that it took so long to figure it out, once you figured it out most people were kind of ok with it but the idea was to make DayZ standalone so that players could play it the way they want and the idea is you can drag the items you want down onto your quick toolbar and you can customize that how you see fit.

Q: As far as the visual polish and added detail, what are you bringing in regards to that and where are you now?
A: So the interiors and car wrecks and things like that are really focussed for us because we want all of them to spawn loot, it's really going to make loot maps difficult to use because literally everything can spawn loot so you really have to search around and scavenge. That's kind of the outcome we always wanted to have with the mod but we weren't able to. I guess that's the benefit of us taking our time now as we can really focus on these things so I think Chernarus is going to be very different.

Q: Anything else people should be on the look out for especially in regards to upcoming blogs etc?
A: I think the biggest thing is crafting and that's what we are most excited about at the moment, one of our key programmers really loves the concept of crafting in games and some of the work he is doing is just amazing. We have already got it and what I will probably try and demo tomorrow is the initial basis of drag and drop crafting. So we didn't want it to feel like a real pushed version of crafting, it's very much you have to experiment with things, drag things on to other items and see what you can do. The idea is to make certain items interact with other items, so you might put duct tape onto your torch and then put that onto your weapon and that kind of stuff so it really encourages players to experiment with items they find - something you find that looks like junk you might actually be able to use later on, a new one now is making a splint from a bandage and two pieces of wood. We think it's not just exploring the world but also the items and their potential uses for them. These aren't things that are spelled out, you have to figure them out by seeing the interactions available when you drag and drop items.

Q: So there will definitely be a time when players just have their bags full of every piece of junk they find until they figure it out.
A: Yeh and we just have an explosion of content at the moment, we have found a couple of artist (many external) who are providing us with everything from new sneakers through to gas canisters and butane torches, hammers, everything. A lot of things will be used as weapons but they may also have other uses in terms of crafting.

MMORPG.COM - Interview, Gameplay Demo and Article

Most of this interview is similar stuff discussed in the presentation so I haven't transcribed it but Dean does give a much more detailed demo of the inventory system, movement as well as a glimpse of some of the map areas so it's definitely worth a look.


RIPPER X - Gameplay and Inventory Demo

PCGamesN - Interview/Article

Edited by SmashT, 01 September 2013 - 01:31 PM.

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#4 DemonGroover


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Posted 23 March 2013 - 03:46 AM

And Smash does it again!
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#5 Very Ape

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 03:47 AM

Thank... you... *gasps*

“People have only as much liberty as they have the intelligence to want and the courage to take.” - Emma Goldman


#6 Vindicator


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Posted 23 March 2013 - 03:56 AM

Great! Dean gave out some new info! :)
Иди ко мне. Ты обретешь то, что заслуживаешь

Scavengers, Trespassers, Adventurers, Loners, Killers, Explorers, Robbers

#7 Xucphra


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Posted 23 March 2013 - 03:58 AM

Do you type all that yourself, every time?


#8 Chabowski


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Posted 23 March 2013 - 04:06 AM

Thanks for that Smash.
Your effort is appreciated, as always. :thumbsup:

I don't like warriors. Too narrow-minded, no subtlety. And worse, they fight for hopeless causes.
Honour? Huh! Honour's killed millions of people, it hasn't saved a single one.

#9 orlok


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Posted 23 March 2013 - 04:53 AM

Hello there

smash is a damn good typist. Thanks for putting that into text. A damn fine effort.

Good stuff indeed.



#10 mick17



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Posted 23 March 2013 - 05:04 AM

Sweet info! Torches confirmed!! As well as hammers!

#11 Noszombie


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Posted 23 March 2013 - 06:21 AM

Thank you for typing smash :)


#12 BeastOverlord


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Posted 23 March 2013 - 06:37 AM

Crafting sounds so epic! I can't wait for the Dev Blog on this.

#13 philbottle


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Posted 23 March 2013 - 06:43 AM

Smash, you flippin rock mate. Now glad i woke up early!

hello mum

#14 RyanK


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Posted 23 March 2013 - 06:59 AM

rocket's hair is very... european

#15 SmashT


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Posted 23 March 2013 - 07:02 AM

rocket's hair is very... european

He cuts his own hair, was going for the George Mcfly look I assume.
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Edited by smasht_AU, 23 March 2013 - 07:08 AM.

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#16 Zarniwoop


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Posted 23 March 2013 - 08:08 AM

Awesome smasht! You da man! :P

About the hotkey bar: Hope you wont be able to hotkey stuff from your backpack....

#17 dragonkatol



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Posted 23 March 2013 - 12:58 PM

Awesome smasht! You da man! :P

About the hotkey bar: Hope you wont be able to hotkey stuff from your backpack....

I think rocket said that you can't hotkey stuff on your backpack. You can only put items on the hotkey if it's in your clothing and vest pockets. I forgot where i heard that, maybe the last Dev Diary.
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I'm a friendly bandit. I'll introduce you to myself while shooting you in the face.

#18 Horde



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Posted 23 March 2013 - 03:11 PM

Thanks for typing this up Smasht :)
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#19 Michaelvoodoo25



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Posted 23 March 2013 - 04:16 PM

Someone tell rocket the "My Chemical Romance" look is dead (Like the band)

Someone needs to sponsor him to cut his Everest hair style for charity.
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#20 daze23


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Posted 23 March 2013 - 04:34 PM

He cuts his own hair, was going for the George Mcfly look I assume.
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I though it was the Tony Hawk flop

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