Welcome survivor, to a fabulously French Mondoid in which our wondrous gallic friends at ProjectZomboid.fr have submitted questions for the consumption of all. We call these sessions ‘Ask Project Zomboid Developers The Indie Stone Anything’ but sadly, unlike the runaway success that is IWBUMS, the catchy acronym ‘APZDTISA’ has never really taken off beyond private circles. We will never stop believing though.
Before we get all Johnny Hallyday about it though, we’ve got a few important news nuggets for you on the Build 32 IWBUMS Public Test and the world beyond.
As many will be aware, this week it’s been revealed that our original official distribution platform Desura has encountered financial difficulties. Given its unpredictable future we’d like to recommend all remaining Desura players who haven’t yet found and activated their free PZ Steam key to do so as soon as possible. You can find instructions here.
As a platform the belief and friendship of Desura’s previous owners made Project Zomboid what it is today. We would especially like to thank Scott and Dave from the old times, and also offer our sympathies to all those losing out in this current sad situation.
Build 32: The IWBUMS continues
We’re now on the fifth iteration of the public beta of Build 32, and we’re getting some great feedback on the new zombie population system from everyone. We still want more though, to help the builds really finetune zombie respawns and movement. Very soon EasyP will be adding a config file to saves so you can experiment with spawning behaviour yourselves and help us in our glorious crusade for population perfection, so watch the forum and our twitter feed for details on that one.
The plan is to find ‘good’ numbers for spawning and migration and make sure as many people as possible are comfortable with it. Although, that’s the wrong choice of words: ‘acceptably uncomfortable’ would probably be better! At this point EP will start to drip in the random factor. His latest post on the subject can be found here on the forums.
A few quick links we’d like you to have a gander at! Twiggy has just started a new Project Zomboid Quickie Tutorial series – the first one of which is on Character Creation. Our Chris has also chimed in on his thoughts on the positives of the new Steam refund scheme. Finally, Citadel Servers are currently checking if there is interest for AU/NZ PZ servers – if you’re of an Australasian bent and would fancy something like that then please get in touch!
Now that’s all sorted. Bring on the French!
APZDTISA VI: The French Connection
Are you planning to make the map look a bit more post-apocalyptic with things like destroyed cars, quarantine tape, army roadblocks, ambulances, police cars, blood on the streets, broken windows? [KebabToutChaud]
Mash: Some of these things already exist (some places are/will be pretty blood-spattered up), and we will be adding some more – destroyed cars is a common request! Much of the destruction is something we want to happen organically though: as a result of player [and NPC] actions. When the game starts, it’s fairly close to the very beginning of the quarantine, after all!
Will: When the radio and TV broadcasts are in the game and the general back story of the game is a little clearer we’ll definitely be decorating certain areas to reflect it, although we’ll generally be concentrating on some of the more focal points of the story rather than redecorating places that you’re already familiar with.
With Build 32 we saw the introduction of professions that had crafts integrated. In the future, do you have plans to add more professions or crafts like them? How much further would you like to push this concept? (Meabe)
RJ: Yes, we plan to push more specific crafting even more. So, a botanist for example will be able to find medicinal herbs while foraging and potentially make a medicine with them. Clearly nothing as strong as a real medical product, but enough to be useful. There could be something to settle your stomach, for instance.
The electrician profession will also be pushed a bit more, but one of the most exciting new professions to come soon will probably be the Metal Worker. Don’t expect to find yourself forging swords and katanas, but more metal fences, nails, maybe axe heads…
With the new electrician and engineer jobs, the new crafts and the new electricity skill. Will we have more interaction with the objects of the world? Like with ovens, doors, fridges, light switches and the like we could dismantle, improve, optimize, automate etc? [Furthick]
RJ: Dismantling has been done by Turbo for a future update, just like moveable furniture, so yes. But when you look at, say, the new Metal Worker profession I mention you could take a metal item (a door knob?) and melt it down, and electricians could repair broken fridges, ovens and other appliances. Of course, one day we’ll also need a mechanic profession to help out with the vehicles.
So, with the new animations on the horizon, I remember you mentioned some improvements on the combat mechanics. Do you have any info yet? [Deprav]
Chris: Nothing solid yet, we’re still experimenting with how to handle it. It’s going to be more focused on timing / distance than it is on charging currently. The hope is for us to be able to chain together various combat anims to make combat feel like there’s more contact, so both you and the zombie are actually interacting instead of just playing a swing animation and them stumbling back. Zombie grabs are also going to be a real thing you have to break free of and counter, instead of just that strange slow down drag effect.
Can we have some news on the new map like Louisville? [Zut]
Andy: Work is still underway on that one. It’s been a little slower than we’d have liked (you can blame me for this, sorry) and until my part of the process is complete – which you can think of as preparatory work – Mash can’t begin populating the area.
Because of this, I’d prefer not to really go into any details on the content you’ll see in this area because that’d spoil what Mash will want to talk about and show once her tasks on the map begin. So all I can really say at this point is what you already know: there’ll be a city, suburbs, and some interesting types of building which will be unique to this area. It’s big.
Mash: While I’m waiting I’m working on some SECRET stuff that will make a big difference to the game once it’s in, but is boring to talk about beforehand. So look out for a big surprise in the future!
Can we hope for some kind of ‘craft-helper’ one day in Project Zomboid? It can be really annoying to be unaware of what we can do with the items we’ve looted – and having to go onto the internet to research it. We can see this for carpentry, so why not for the crafting? [Aleiiks]
RJ: Yup, this is planned. I’ve already made a mock-up of a new craft UI – something that’s fast to use, and can be done using only the keyboard. So: a list of recipes that you know, classed by category (food, wood, electrical, metal…) with a favorite list too. Only the recipes you already know will be displayed.
I don’t know if we’ll add an option or something to move them between characters yet. Maybe when you die you’ll drop a list with all the crafting recipes you know, and you’ll have to read it to re-learn it all with your new character…
Recipes books and broadcasts will also add the items they detail to the required ingredients in this list, and likewise the professions will also have their specific crafting pre-set directly in this list. So, for instance, the Engineer will have a list of all the explosives he can make. But we’ll also keep the right click to craft thingy, clearly, as it’s the fastest way to craft stuff.
We have a lot of ways to blow up stuff and start fire now. Can we expect ways to extinguish the fire too? With buckets filled with sand, water or fire extinguishers? And since we’re talking about blowing stuff up. We don’t have a real proper animation or effect for explosions. Any plans for this? [Flashfire]
RJ: Ha! The rest of the devs don’t know this, but Flashfire has been on about this in the French community for a looong time! I’m always telling him: “Yup, I’m gonna add this!” But yes Flash, really, it’s definitely planned and especially now we have the new fire propagation/explosives systems in build 32.
Also yes, I hope we’ll have an explosion animation soon, I can’t say much about them though as I’m not really the animator guy.
Aside Project Zomboid. How do you see the future of the IndieStone ? Any idea of what is coming next or do you have already some projects in mind? [Légumanigo]
Chris: Everyone in the team has ideas, or things they are hoping to explore. There have been times where one or another of us have dipped into something on a weekend for a bit of fun, but they are soon put to one side. We’re very wary of getting too enthusiastic about any future ideas because we’ve got stuff to finish.
We’ll be looking forward to being able to figure out what our next game should be from all the candidates when we hit 1.0. Until then distractions are dangerous! So we try and avoid them. It goes without saying, meanwhile, that when some team members do move onto something else as a company we intend to support PZ beyond 1.0 too!
You have many nationalities in your team. Does this raise problems sometimes, in terms of communication and working together? [Légumanigo]
Chris: Thankfully other nationalities don’t tend to be as culturally ignorant as us English speakers, so all the non-native English speaking developers have a very good grasp of English and are probably more understandable than the Northern contingent of The Indie Stone anyway!
The only thing that tends to confuse is if we throw any particularly English/Northern expressions in there. I usually need to throw a translation in RJ’s direction!
Will: The biggest international flare-up between developers was probably the great ‘does egg go into a burger’s meat pattie?’ debacle. That and the fish pie dispute. Both of these are already on record, I believe.
French people think the food and nutrition system really deserve a rework, because it doesn’t really make much sense? Do you agree with them? Any plans if so? [Darkill54]
Chris: Proper nutrition is something we’d like to do, to further differentiate between a diet of pop and crisps and a proper balanced diet of vegetables and Rat o’ Van. It certainly seems like an important aspect of a realistic survival game.
However, this is on our ‘really want to do but won’t promise because we’ve got plenty to do already’ list of stuff. We want to do it, and it may well be added at some point to help bridge the gap during the long wait for NPCs. No promises though!
Along with the new animations, will there be new injury and death animations? I’m thinking: zombies losing limbs, getting their head crushed by a bat, players getting hit, smashing on the ground when falling, being gutted by groups of zombies, running away screaming when dying in fire. The sadist part of me wants MOAR pain and MOAR nasty ways to go! [Runwiththewolf]
Andy: We have a whole bunch of new animations ready to go into the game, we’re just waiting on the code work. A lot of Martin the animator’s work has been in tidying up and improving existing animations, adding new combat and stealth related animations and a few more incidental ones. Once they’re all incorporated we’ll look to expand upon this range.
That said, there would be some technical implications involved in dismemberment – we agree it would be a really really great feature to have, but until we fully explore how easy or difficult it would be to implement we couldn’t say for definite whether it’d be a feature we’ll ever have. But we’d love to, so we’ll just have to see.