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APZDTISA IV: The Quest for Peace

August 25, 2014

(blog header art by Terry Green)

Good evening from a rain-soaked England, and welcome to the fourth ‘Ask Project Zomboid Developers The Indie Stone Anything!’. And what does that boil down to if you only use the first letter of every word?

Audience: “APZDTISA!”

God bless you all!

Right, some housekeeping before we get to developer answers from the Zomboid community. First off, if you haven’t seen the announcement about the current status of our in-game server list please have a read.

Second off, check out Blindcoder’s amazing new map function: you can see inside houses!

Third off, because we had so many awesome questions we’re going to break with tradition and split this APZDTISA into two separate Mondoids (we know!). So if you don’t see your much-liked question appear below, we don’t hate you – it might just be waiting till next week for its time to shine. Or, we might hate you. That’s just the risk you run round here.

With that in mind: on…. with… the… SHOW!


Will the new canon be very different from the existing one? Where do you plan to take it?

WILL: It’s different, but not wildly different. I still want the area around the ‘Knox Event’ to be an exclusion zone at first, so you survivors can listen in on news reports as the world begins to fall apart – and then goes ominously silent. As far as the official canon goes, players won’t ever actually know what happened – there’ll be plenty of rumours and opinions shared by  the survivors you meet but you’ll never come across a laboratory with a broken vial on the floor and the words ‘Oh no! I dropped the vial!’ written on the wall in scientist blood.

Will water become passable/swimmable at some point and how would zombies interact with it, submerging like in some Romero lore or avoid it.

BINKY: It’s difficult to answer that since it would need various additions/changes from the engine itself. I can say that ideally the water would be swimmable to some degree but I wouldn’t want to confirm that at this stage.

When will things like backpacks, raincoats, hats etc be visible on the character? (theres only so many times that purple sweater can look good)

BINKY: Yes, more clothing – backpacks, props, stuff like that. Yes, definitely.

Will the mod community be able to mod NPCs? And will NPCs be procedurally/randomly generated, or will they be true “characters” with their own pre­set background story and behavior? Or a combination of both?

LEMMY: The mod community will be able to mod the NPCs behaviour in the meta game completely. That is overarching decisions they make, their opinions of other people, and the things that happen to them, the things they choose to do in situations etc. All this is completely open and editable with XML.

In the first release, at least, it would not be possible to mod combat behaviours, what order they explore rooms when looting, how they interact with their inventory, or other lower level functionality without decompiling. We have a plan however to open even this up in time using lua constructed behaviours and leaf nodes.

Regarding whether NPCs will be procedurally/randomly generated, or will be true characters. They will be both. You may walk up to a random house that’s never been visited before and meet a random NPC group with a random brother and sister, or a group of random thugs, or a group of friends, or whatever. They are totally random.

On the other hand, if you were to go to Bob and Kate’s house then they would be there too, with the AI taking control of Bob and all the player choices available. Depending on how far away the player was, and how much time has passed since the start of the game, the player may find them listening to the radio in that very safehouse bedroom, or if it took weeks to get there, you see Kate running down the road with another group and wonder ‘what the hell happened there?’.

We all understand by now that there are certain ways to avoid your character getting bored in the game, be it cutting a tree, do inventory management or read a book. But what about actual players? Aside from the much anticipated NPCs and “The Governor”, do you plan to implement anything else that will keep the actual player entertained throughout the ‘Sims’ stage, when we manage to build a good safehouse and only have to care about our crops and water barrels?

ROMAIN: Zombie migration is already in there to help that, but we definitely need to add more end game content – more complex crafting (perhaps even a few things that could require more than 1 player/NPC), electrical generators and repairs, more skills to develop etc.

Is an overhaul of the health and medicine system in the cards for pre-1.0 release?

ROMAIN: Yup, it’ll probably not be for build 29, but probably for build 30. Many things are planned for this – more wound types (burns, bullet strikes, heavy bleeding, bone breaking etc), and many new ways to treat them like alcohol-doused bandages and splints. There’ll also be a new doctor skill that will let you search for medicinal plants and craft new medicines with them (it’ll be less efficient than the current medicines in-gane, but would be used to deal with food poisoning, as a painkiller etc.)

Will we ever see animals roaming around?

BINKY: Again, ideally yes. We posted a work-in-progress pic of a rabbit aaaaaaages ago for example, but there hasn’t been time as of yet to finish that off and get it in the game.

What animations are being worked on? I think top priority should be something like crouching and searching around in the backpack when doing backpack inventory management, hugging the walls and maybe a longer walking and sprinting animation?

BINKY: Er, you’ve kind of answered your own question there! I agree. Plus the aforementioned combat anim expansion. Whenever we look at expanding the animations we generally prioritise things which have clear gameplay ramifications. Crouching, sneaking, peeking round corners, etc certainly fall under this category. So does expanding the combat anim range. Inventory searching is more of a cosmetic animation but I agree it would be nice to see.

The old NPC system had a three tier “emotion” scale which would allow the player to choose how he acted. Will this system be returning with the new NPCs? How will it work?

LEMMY: No this system is not coming back. We’ve instead introduced actual conceptual choices that can either be picked by a player, or picked by an NPC in a similar situation. These won’t necessarily be dialogue options but are in many cases when that is what the choice boils down to. These won’t be liberally used but will be in situations where important decisions are to be made that may impact things heavily. Do you order the execution of the guy you just mugged? What will the witnesses think about that? Will they comply? It all comes down to their personalities, how much you’ve learnt of their personalities, and what you can surmise about their characters and relationships.

Can we have a chainsaw? Pretty please? lol I PROMISE to use it responsibly! (that’s a fib, I’m sorry. I’ll probably run amok with it, tearing through zombies and doors alike)

LEMMY: Just remember this is Zomboid. You want to carry a heavy, extremely loud, finite fuel weapon? You want to cut your own arm off or get eaten by a horde? It’s time to pick! I’m sure we’ll want to look into adding chainsaws at some point because, well its obvious, but their usefulness will be questionable.

BINKY: I’d also like to add this.

RJ specifically for you: How have your pole dancing skills increased since Rezzed? What have you been doing to really up your game?

ROMAIN: First thing, I’ve bought a new pole for my home. It’s quite amazing, after a few miserable falls, I’ve noe pretty much mastered it.  I mean, it’s not on-board a monorail shuttle, but it does the trick. I’ll do a bonus video soon to show some of my new pole dance skills very soon, I just need to find the correct underwear.

Cake or Pie?

MASH: The real question is: Pancakes or Waffles?


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