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December 31, 2012

Happy New Year (and map stuff)

Happy New Year to you all from all of us at The Indie Stone. Will is currently indisposed with the birth of his sprog – no word as yet on whether he has a little Willie… or a baby girl, but until then I’m afraid you’ll have to settle with a blog post written by me (Binky) and Mash. So sit back, lower those expectations, and we shall begin.

Right then. Er… what shall we talk about? And also, how are we going to identify who’s saying what?

“Andy:        Mash:      “, proposed Marina as she delicately typed away in a Skype window, “though I suppose I’ll need to use capitalization and proper punctuation if that’s the case”.

“Marvellous”, replied Andy although in reality he didn’t and simply typed that response into the ‘add new blog’ page on WordPress while Marina was typing stuff in Skype about how my format is a stupid idea and really we should be doing it interview style – like all the other blog posts.

“Sadface”, said Andy using an emoticon suddenly realising that he ought to have clarified that “Andy” is “Binky” and “Marina” is “Mash” just in case it wasn’t apparent.

Sorry about this – this all goes so much better when Will does it. Let’s move straight onto something about the new map.  Over to you, Mash.

“Well, I think one of the modern facts of North American life is that we’re surrounded by brands and all of these brands are advertised. It clutters things up.”

*Andy nods, like a proper interviewer*

“In Project Zomboid, part of how we create a full world is to create its own brands. In previous updates players have already seen Spiffo’s and Seahorse cafes but in the future, players can look forward to visiting their local pizza chain franchise, Pizza Whirled. Or stopping in for a Slurp-Burp at Zippee Market convenience stores”

Wait, what? “Slurp-Burp”? Uhhh…

“I’ve just made that up. Making up this stuff is one of my favourites bits of PZ world-building. Another aspect of…”

Woah, slow down there. I’ve got to put the picture in to accompany this bit…

“Another aspect of branding is advertising – we’re surrounded by them”, (adverts I think she means), “in real life, and I think part of the reason the PZ world looks a bit too clean is that there aren’t advertisements littered around, blaring their messages at you.”

Can I just take a moment to say that “Pizza Whirled” is a brilliant name for a Pizza chain? Tell me about the process of coming up with the brands.

“I think this situation would call for a clever pun, but I’m afraid I’ve used up all my punning powers on names for shops/restaurants in the game.  If the internet has taught me anything, it’s that EVERYONE (yes, EVERYONE) loves puns”

You could have said that we just hap-pun across the… oh wait you’ve literally just made exactly the same joke in Skype and now it’s going to look like I’ve ripped you off. Um. Companeeebody knows where the — no, that’s awful. So. Anyway. Armed with this dizzying array of incredible brand names, what sort of thing are you doing with them?

Oh cool – an advertising billboard. And “Citr-8” is a lot more believable as far as a fizzy drink brand is concerned than the original “pop” and “fizz” branded cans that I made back at the start.

So basically, lots more of this sort of thing?

“We just can’t get punough.”

Really, Mash? Really?

“…I have a feeling I’m coming across as insane.”

Don’t worry, I’m not including all this stuff – I’m restructuring it all so it sounds dead professional and that.

“Puns aside, I think things like running to a local Zippee Market, rather than a generic corner store, for supplies is one of those things that add flavour to the game without the player really noticing.  It may not be cars, or multi-player, or any of the other most-requested features, but it helps create the Zomboid world… and so maybe, just a little, makes that world just a little more immersive and rich.”

I completely agree – Muldraugh (and the surrounding areas as we expand) needs to feel like a real place, not just a collection of buildings sprayed into a world. One of the reasons we wanted a designed world as opposed to a random map was for precisely this sort of reason. You’re spending time in a real place that we’ve put together ourselves. We want the world to have personality in just the same way that we want characters to.

“Of course, not all the personalities will be as silly as the ones we’ve mentioned, it’s just that those are the most pun.  I mean, fun.”

Oh dear.

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